American Economic Review: Vol. 99 No. 4 (September 2009)


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Field Centipedes

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Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, and Oscar Volij. 2009. "Field Centipedes." American Economic Review, 99(4): 1619-35.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1619


In the centipede game, all standard equilibrium concepts dictate that the player who decides first must stop the game immediately. There is vast experimental evidence, however, that this rarely occurs. We first conduct a field experiment in which highly ranked chess players play this game. Contrary to previous evidence, our results show that69 percent of chess players stop immediately. When we restrict attention to Grandmasters, this percentage escalates to 100 percent. We then conduct a laboratory experiment in which chess players and students are matched in different treatments. When students play against chess players, the outcome approaches the subgame-perfect equilibrium. (JEL C72, C93)

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Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio (London School of Economics)
Volij, Oscar (Ben-Gurion U Negev)

JEL Classifications

C72: Noncooperative Games
C93: Field Experiments

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