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Instability of Defection in the Prisoner's Dilemma Under Best Experienced Payoff Dynamics

Srinivas Arigapudi, Yuval Heller and Igal Milchtaich

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Abstract: We study population dynamics under which each revising agent tests each strategy k times, with each trial being against a newly drawn opponent, and chooses the strategy whose mean payoff was highest. When k = 1, defection is globally stable in the prisoner`s dilemma. By contrast, when k > 1 we show that there exists a globally stable state in which agents cooperate with probability between 28% and 50%. Next, we characterize stability of strict equilibria in general games. Our results demonstrate that the empirically plausible case of k > 1 can yield qualitatively different predictions than the case of k = 1 that is commonly studied in the literature.

Date: 2020-05, Revised 2021-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gth and nep-mic
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