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Experimental study of cursed equilibrium in a signaling game

Nichole Szembrot ()
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Nichole Szembrot: Trinity College

Experimental Economics, 2018, vol. 21, issue 2, 257-291

Abstract: Abstract The laboratory experiment described in this paper provides evidence on play in signaling games in the context of electoral competition. In this game, voters must infer the preferred policy of each candidate from the candidate’s choice of whether to announce (truthfully) his preferred policy or to take no position. Bayesian voters would put high probability on a candidate having an extreme policy preference after observing him take no position, but cursed voters would not fully appreciate the informational content of the decision to take no position. Stated beliefs reveal substantial uncertainty about other players’ strategies. Based on estimates of a structural model of cursed equilibrium allowing for heterogeneity in the degree of cursedness, 32% of choices between candidates are consistent with Bayesian updating, 32% imply no inferences about others’ types after observing their actions, and the remainder indicate partial updating. Though the experiment also includes treatments with subjects in both roles, these estimates are based on interactions with programmed candidates, implying that uncertainty about others’ rationality and strategic sophistication is not driving the result. We also find that the quantal response error structure in which errors depend on payoff differences cannot explain the pattern of errors that subjects make.

Keywords: Cursed equilibrium; Incomplete information; Bayesian updating; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C92 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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