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Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Good Games

Ralph-C Bayer (), Elke Renner and Rupert Sausgruber

No 2009-18, Discussion Papers from The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham

Abstract: We use a limited information environment to mimic the state of confusion in an experimental, repeated public goods game. The results show that reinforcement learning leads to dynamics similar to those observed in standard public goods games. However, closer inspection shows that individual decay of contributions in standard public goods games cannot be fully explained by reinforcement learning. According to our estimates, learning only accounts for 41 percent of the decay in contributions in standard public goods games. The contribution dynamics of subjects, who are identi?ed as conditional cooperators, di®er strongly from the learning dynamics, while a learning model estimated from the limited information treatment tracks behavior for subjects, who cannot be classi?ed as conditional cooperators, reasonably well.

Keywords: public goods experiments; learning; limited information; confusion; conditional cooperation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 D83 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-10
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

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Related works:
Working Paper: Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Goods Games (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Goods Games (2009) Downloads
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