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Perfect versus imperfect observability---An experimental test of Bagwell's result

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  • Steffen Huck

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Wieland Mueller

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

Abstract

In a seminal paper Bagwell (1995) claims that the first mover advantage, i.e. the strategic benefit of committing oneself to an action before others can do, vanishes completely if this action is only imperfectly observed by second movers. In our paper we report on an experimental test of this prediction. We implement three versions of a game similar to an example^? given by Bagwell, each time varying the quality of the signal which informs the second mover. For experienced players we do not find empirical support for Bagwell's result. Instead, we find some support for the noisy Stackelberg equilibrium emphasised by van Damme and Hurkens (1997).

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Huck & Wieland Mueller, 1998. "Perfect versus imperfect observability---An experimental test of Bagwell's result," Experimental 9804001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:9804001
    Note: Type of Document - ps; prepared on IBM PC; pages: 19 ; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, March.
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    4. Cooper, Russell & DeJong, Douglas V. & Forsythe, Robert & Ross, Thomas W., 1996. "Cooperation without Reputation: Experimental Evidence from Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 187-218, February.
    5. B. Adolph, 1996. "Commitment, Trembling Hand Imperfection and Observability in Games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,84, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    6. Guth, Werner & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Ritzberger, Klaus, 1998. "Imperfectly Observable Commitments inn-Player Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 54-74, April.
    7. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 1997. "Games with Imperfectly Observable Commitment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 282-308, October.
    8. Levine, David K. & Martinelli, Cesar, 1998. "Reputation with Noisy Precommitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 55-75, January.
    9. Güth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland, 1998. "The relevance of equal splits: On a behavioral discontinuity in ultimatum games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,7, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    10. Jörg Oechssler & Karl H Schlag, 1997. "Loss of Commitment? An Evolutionary Analysis of Bagwell’s Example," Levine's Working Paper Archive 598, David K. Levine.
    11. Amnon Rapoport, 1997. "Order of Play in Strategically Equivalent Games in Extensive Form," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 26(1), pages 113-136.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Brandts & Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness, 2003. "Forward induction and the excess capacity puzzle: An experimental investigation," Working Papers 76, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Fellner, Gerlinde & Guth, Werner, 2003. "What limits escalation?--Varying threat power in an ultimatum experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 53-60, July.
    3. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2007. "The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 326-338, August.
    4. Vardy, Felix, 2004. "The value of commitment in Stackelberg games with observation costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 374-400, November.
    5. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.
    6. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2002. "To Commit or Not to Commit: Endogenous Timing in Experimental Duopoly Markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 240-264, February.
    7. Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The quality of the signal matters -- a note on imperfect observability and the timing of moves," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 99-106, May.
    8. Roberto Weber & Colin Camerer & Marc Knez, 2004. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and “Weak Link” Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 25-48, February.
    9. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2004. "Strategic delegation in experimental markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 561-574, April.
    10. Ritz, Robert A., 2008. "Strategic incentives for market share," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 586-597, March.
    11. Poulsen, Anders, 2007. "Learning to Make Strategic Moves: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 10927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Sven Fischer & Werner Güth & Wieland Müller & Andreas Stiehler, 2006. "From ultimatum to Nash bargaining: Theory and experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(1), pages 17-33, April.
    13. Guth, Werner & Muller, Wieland & Spiegel, Yossi, 2006. "Noisy leadership: An experimental approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 37-62, October.
    14. Giorgos Stamatopoulos, 2016. "Cournot and Stackelberg equilibrium under strategic delegation: an equivalence result," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 81(4), pages 553-570, November.
    15. Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Policy-Motivated Candidates, Noisy Platforms, and Non-robustness," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(3-4), pages 319-347, March.
    16. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2004. "An experimental study of commitment in Stackelberg games with observation costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 401-423, November.
    17. Ludwig, Sandra & Strassmair, Christina, 2009. "An Experimental study on the information structure in teams," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 277, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    18. Werner Güth & Gerlinde Fellner, 2002. "Putting Limits to Emotional Behavior - An Ultimatum Experiment Varying Threat Efficiency," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    19. Anders U. Poulsen & Michael V. M. Roos, 2009. "Do People Make Strategic Moves? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," Discussion Papers 09-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    20. Hildenbrand, Andreas, 2010. "Cournot or Stackelberg competition? A survey on experimental evidence," MPRA Paper 24468, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Dorothea Alewell & Andreas Nicklisch, 2006. "Wage Differentials, Fairness, and Social Comparison: An experimental study of the Co-Employment of Permanent and Temporary Agency Workers†," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_8, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    commitment; first-mover advantage; imperfect observability; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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