The Speed of Learning in Noisy Games: Partial Reinforcement and the Sustainability of Cooperation
Alvin Roth () and
Scholarly Articles from Harvard University Department of Economics
In an experiment, playersâ€™ ability to learn to cooperate in the repeated prisonerâ€™s dilemma was substantially diminished when the payoffs were noisy, even though players could monitor one another's past actions perfectly. In contrast, in one-time play against a succession of opponents, noisy payoffs increased cooperation, by slowing the rate at which cooperation decays. These observations are consistent with the robust observation from the psychology literature that partial reinforcement (adding randomness to the link between an action and its consequences while holding expected payoffs constant) slows learning. This effect is magnified in the repeated game: When others are slow to learn to cooperate, the benefits of cooperation are reduced, which further hampers cooperation. These results show that a small change in the payoff environment, which changes the speed of individual learning, can have a large effect on collective behavior. And they show that there may be interesting comparative dynamics that can be derived from careful attention to the fact that at least some economic behavior is learned from experience.
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (51) Track citations by RSS feed
Published in American Economic Review
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: The Speed of Learning in Noisy Games: Partial Reinforcement and the Sustainability of Cooperation (2006)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hrv:faseco:2580381
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Scholarly Articles from Harvard University Department of Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Office for Scholarly Communication ().