American Economic Review: Vol. 98 No. 3 (June 2008)


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Stationary Concepts for Experimental 2x2-Games

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Selten, Reinhard, and Thorsten Chmura. 2008. "Stationary Concepts for Experimental 2x2-Games." American Economic Review, 98(3): 938-66.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.938


Five stationary concepts for completely mixed 2 x 2-games are experimentally compared: Nash equilibrium, quantal response equilibrium, action-sampling equilibrium, payoff-sampling equilibrium (Martin J. Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein 1998), and impulse balance equilibrium. Experiments on 12 games, 6 constant sum games, and 6 nonconstant sum games were run with 12 independent subject groups for each constant sum game and 6 independent subject groups for each nonconstant sum game. Each independent subject group consisted of four players 1 and four players 2, interacting anonymously over 200 periods with random matching. The comparison of the five theories shows that the order of performance from best to worst is as follows: impulse balance equilibrium, payoff-sampling equilibrium, action-sampling equilibrium, quantal response equilibrium, Nash equilibrium.

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Selten, Reinhard (Laboratory of Experimental Economics, Bonn)
Chmura, Thorsten (Shanghai Jiao Tong U)

JEL Classifications

C70: Game Theory and Bargaining Theory: General

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