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Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust

  • Apesteguia, Jose

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Huck, Steffen

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University College London)

  • Oechssler, Jörg

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg)

  • Weidenholzer, Simon

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Vienna)

A well-known result by Vega-Redondo implies that in symmetric Cournot oligopoly, imitation leads to the Walrasian outcome where price equals marginal cost. In this paper we show that this result is not robust to the slightest asymmetry in fixed costs. Instead of obtaining the Walrasian outcome as unique prediction, every outcome where agents choose identical actions will be played some fraction of the time in the long run. We then conduct experiments to check this fragility. We obtain that, contrary to the theoretical prediction, the Walrasian outcome is still a good predictor of behavior.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-69.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 05 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-69
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. Karl H. Schlag, 1995. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi-Armed Bandits," Discussion Paper Serie B 361, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1996.
  2. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  3. 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.
  4. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 2007. "Imitation--theory and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 217-235, September.
  5. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  6. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Sonnemans, J., 2002. "Imitation and belief learning in an oligopoly experiment," Other publications TiSEM a6a771c5-31ba-4193-8f76-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
  11. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
  12. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
  13. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  14. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  15. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  16. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
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