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Learning in and about Games

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  • Anke Gerber

Abstract

We study finitely repeated 2 / 2 normal form games, where players have incomplete information about their opponents� payoffs. In a laboratory experiment we investigate whether players (a) learn the game they are playing, (b) learn to predict the behavior of their opponent, and (c) learn to play according to a Nash equilibrium of the repeated game. Our results show that the success in learning the opponent�s type depends on the characteristics of the true game. The learning success is much higher for games with pure strategy Nash equilibria than for games with a unique mixed strategy Nash equilibrium, and it is higher for games with symmetric pure strategy Nash equilibria than for games with asymmetric equilibria. Moreover, subjects learn to predict the opponents� behavior very well. However, they rarely play according to a Nash equilibrium and we observe no correlation between equilibrium play and learning about the game.

Suggested Citation

  • Anke Gerber, "undated". "Learning in and about Games," IEW - Working Papers 234, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:234
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp234.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
    2. John H. Nachbar, 1997. "Prediction, Optimization, and Learning in Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 275-310, March.
    3. Cox, James C. & Shachat, Jason & Walker, Mark, 2001. "An Experiment to Evaluate Bayesian Learning of Nash Equilibrium Play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 11-33, January.
    4. Cooper, Russell & De Jong, Douglas V. & Forsythe, Robert & Ross, Thomas W., 1992. "Forward induction in coordination games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 167-172, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Danz & Dietmar Fehr & Dorothea Kübler, 2012. "Information and beliefs in a repeated normal-form game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 622-640, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; game theory; incomplete information; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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