nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2005‒12‒14
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
US Naval Academy, USA

  1. Rage Against the Machines: How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers By Peter Dürsch; Albert Kolb; Jörg Oechssler; Burkhard C. Schipper
  2. Learning to be prepared By Kets,Willemien; Voorneveld,Mark
  3. The Co-evolution of Institutions and Technology By Desiree Desierto
  4. Equilibrium Play and Best Reply to (Stated) Beliefs in Constant Sum Games By Pedro Rey-Biel
  5. Stability of the Replicator Equation for a Single-Species with a Multi-Dimensional Continuous Trait Space By Ross Cressman; Josef Hofbauer; Frank Riedel

  1. By: Peter Dürsch; Albert Kolb; Jörg Oechssler; Burkhard C. Schipper
    Abstract: We use an experiment to explore how subjects learn to play against computers which are programmed to follow one of a number of standard learning algorithms. The learning theories are (unbeknown to subjects) a best response process, fictitious play, imitation, reinforcement learning, and a trial & error process. We test whether subjects try to influence those algorithms to their advantage in a forward-looking way (strategic teaching). We find that strategic teaching occurs frequently and that all learning algorithms are subject to exploitation with the notable exception of imitation. The experiment was conducted, both, on the internet and in the usual laboratory setting. We find some systematic differences, which however can be traced to the different incentives structures rather than the experimental environment
    Keywords: learning; fictitious play; imitation; reinforcement; trial & error; strategic teaching; Cournot duopoly; experiments; internet
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D43 L13
    Date: 2005–10
  2. By: Kets,Willemien; Voorneveld,Mark (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Behavioral economics provides several motivations for the common observation that agents appear somewhat unwilling to deviate from recent choices. More recent choices can be more salient than other choices, or more readily available in the agent's mind. Alternatively, agents may have formed habits, use rules of thumb, or lock in on certain modes of behavior as a result of learning by doing. This paper provides discrete-time adjustment processes for strategic games in which players display precisely such a bias towards recent choices. In addition, players choose best replies to beliefs supported by observed play in the recent past, in line with much of the literature on learning. These processes eventually settle down in the minimal prep sets of Voorneveld [Games Econ. Behav. 48 (2004) 403-414, and Games Econ. Behav. 51 (2005) 228-232].
    Keywords: adjustment;minimal prep sets;availability bias;salience;rules of thumb; learning
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2005
  3. By: Desiree Desierto
    Abstract: We propose a model of growth driven by the co-evolution of institutions and technology. To be consistent with Douglass North (1990, 1991, 1994), institutions are defined as a type of collective knowledge about a specific environment that can prescribe how to adapt general technology before the latter can be actually used. Institutions, then, are treated as a factor in the innovation process, and as such can be purposely accumulated. The simultaneous accumulation of institutions and technology are modeled as an evolutionary game whereby boundedly-rational .rms choose how much to allocate to ‘institutional spending’ vis-a-vis research expenditures, in anticipation of changes in monopoly pro.ts from technological innovation. Using Taylor and Jonker’s (1978) Replicator Dynamics to describe the evolution of such strategies, we are able to show how this transition process converges to the steady state model of Romer (1990).
    Keywords: endogenous growth, institutions, technological change
    JEL: O30 O33 O49 Z13
    Date: 2005–12
  4. By: Pedro Rey-Biel (Universidad Autónoma Barcelona)
    Abstract: We report experimental results on one-shot two person 3x3 constant sum games played by non-economists without previous experience in the laboratory. Although strategically our games are very similar to previous experiments in which game theory predictions fail dramatically, 80% of actions taken in our experiment coincided with the unique Nash equilibrium in pure strategies and 73% of actions were best responses to elicited beliefs. We argue how social preferences, presentation effects and belief elicitation procedures may influence the way subjects play in simple but non trivial games and explain differences with previous work.
    Keywords: Experiments Constant Sum Games Stated Beliefs
    JEL: C9
    Date: 2005–12–06
  5. By: Ross Cressman; Josef Hofbauer; Frank Riedel
    Abstract: The replicator equation model for the evolution of individual behaviors in a single-species with a multi-dimensional continuous trait space is developed as a dynamics on the set of probability measures. Stability of monomorphisms in this model using the weak topology is compared to more traditional methods of adaptive dynamics. For quadratic fitness functions and initial normal trait distributions, it is shown that the multi-dimensional CSS (Continuously Stable Strategy) of adaptive dynamics is often relevant for predicting stability of the measure-theoretic model but may be too strong in general. For general fitness functions and trait distributions, the CSS is related to dominance solvability which can be used to characterize local stability for a large class of trait distributions that have no gaps in their supports whereas the stronger NIS (Neighborhood Invader Strategy) concept is needed if the supports are arbitrary.
    Keywords: Adaptive dynamics, CSS, NIS, replicator equation, local superiority, strategy dominance, measure dynamics, weak topology
    Date: 2005–04

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