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An Evolutionary Interpretation Of Mixed-Strategy Equilibria

  • Joerg Oechssler

    (Columbia University)

One of the more convincing interpretations of mixed strategy equilibria describes a mixed equilibrium as a steady state in a large population in which all players use pure strategies but the population as a whole mimics a mixed strategy. To be complete, however, this interpretation requires a good story about how the population arrives at the appropriate distribution over pure strategies. In this paper I attempt to give an explanation based on an evolutionary, stochastic learning process. Convergence properties of these processes have been studied extensively but almost exclusively for the case of convergence to pure Nash equilibria. Here I study the conditions under which an evolutionary process converges to population mixed-strategy equilibria. I find that not all mixed equilibria can be justified as the result of the evolutionary learning process even if the equilibrium is unique. For symmetric 2x2 and 3x3 games I give necessary and sufficient conditions for convergence and for n*n games I give a sufficient condition. For cases in which the conditions are not satisfied counterexamples are given, in which the process enters a limit cycle.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9404001.

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Date of creation: 07 Apr 1994
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9404001
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  1. Ariel Rubinstein, 1988. "Comments on the interpretation of game theory (Now published in Econometrica, 59 (1991), pp.909-924.)," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 181, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. Kandori Michihiro & Rob Rafael, 1995. "Evolution of Equilibria in the Long Run: A General Theory and Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 383-414, April.
  3. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-71, September.
  4. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  5. K. Ritzberger & J. Weibull, 2010. "Evolutionary Selection in Normal-Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 452, David K. Levine.
  6. J. Bergin & B. Lipman, 2010. "Evolution with State-Dependent Mutations," Levine's Working Paper Archive 486, David K. Levine.
  7. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
  8. Jordan J. S., 1993. "Three Problems in Learning Mixed-Strategy Nash Equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 368-386, July.
  9. Crawford, Vincent P., 1985. "Learning behavior and mixed-strategy Nash equilibria," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 69-78, March.
  10. Noldeke Georg & Samuelson Larry, 1993. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 425-454, July.
  11. Arthur J Robson & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1999. "Efficient Equilibrium Selection in Evolutionary Games with Random Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2112, David K. Levine.
  12. Joerg Oechssler, 1993. "Competition among Conventions," Game Theory and Information 9312001, EconWPA, revised 04 Dec 1993.
  13. Joerg Oechssler, 1994. "Decentralization and the Coordination Problem," Game Theory and Information 9403004, EconWPA.
  14. Drew Fudenberg & David Kreps, 2010. "Learning Mixed Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 415, David K. Levine.
  15. Rosenthal, R W, 1979. "Sequences of Games with Varying Opponents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1353-66, November.
  16. repec:att:wimass:9122 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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