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On the Evolution of Imitative Behavior

Jonas Bjoernerstedt and Karl Schlag ()

ELSE working papers from ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution

Abstract: We analyze the evolution of behavioral rules for learning how to play a two-armed bandit. Individuals have no information about the underlying pay-off distributions and have limited memory about their own past experience. Instead they must rely on information obtained through observing the per-formance of other individuals. Evolution is modelled using the replicator dynamic with the revision behaviors as replicators. We find that evolution favors a special class of imitative rules. These so-called strictly improving rules (Schlag, 1996) are found to be neutrally stable when facing any two-armed bandit. Further emphasis is put on which rules survive when.

Keywords: multi-armed bandit; social learning; payoff increasing; propor- tional imitation rule; replicator dynamic; neutral stability; survival. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C79 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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