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

  • Steffen Huck

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Wieland Mueller

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

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).

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 9804001.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 17 Apr 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:9804001
Note: Type of Document - ps; prepared on IBM PC; pages: 19 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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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, June.
  2. Kyle Bagwell, 1992. "Commitment and Observability in Games," Discussion Papers 1014, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Levine, David K. & Martinelli, Cesar, 1998. "Reputation with Noisy Precommitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 55-75, January.
  4. van Damme, E.E.C. & Hurkens, J.P.M., 1994. "Games with imperfectly observable commitment," Discussion Paper 1994-64, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Gueth, Werner & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Ritzberger, Klaus, 1996. "Imperfectly Observable Commitments in n-Player Games," Economics Series 35, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  6. 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.
  7. Amnon Rapoport, 1997. "Order of Play in Strategically Equivalent Games in Extensive Form," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 113-136.
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