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Economic Learning, Experiments and the Limits to Information

Atanasios Mitropoulos, formerly Senior Credit Risk Analyst, WestLB AG, Düsseldorf, Germany
It is only relatively recently that economists have begun to realise the importance of learning and study the impact it can have on social outcomes. This book provides an in-depth experimental analysis of current models and methods of adaptive learning in economics. It focuses on environments in which there is little information available, thus promoting the use of basic psychological concepts to model behaviour.
Extent: 224 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 720 6
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  • Business and Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Economics and Finance
  • Behavioural and Experimental Economics
  • Game Theory
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  • Knowledge Management
It is only relatively recently that economists have begun to realise the importance of learning and study the impact it can have on social outcomes. This book provides an in-depth experimental analysis of current models and methods of adaptive learning in economics. It focuses on environments in which there is little information available, thus promoting the use of basic psychological concepts to model behaviour.

The author describes in detail and compares, via simulations, a large number of behavioural models, ranging from early psychological concepts to recently proposed rules. He also reports on a number of experiments using novel designs and highly sophisticated cutting-edge statistical techniques for data analysis. A separate chapter exhaustively deals with the use of measures of predictive success and shows how to avoid common pitfalls when comparing different learning models. Significantly, the author is able to identify serious flaws in current modelling techniques which will undoubtedly improve existing experimental methodology and inspire the search for new and better models to accurately measure the learning process.

This book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how uncertainty is implemented in economic experiments and to behavioural theory in general. It will prove a valuable companion for academics of game theory, experimental economics and economic learning.
‘This book studies behaviour and learning, theoretically and empirically, in a specific game situation. In recent years experiments have frequently been used to study the decision-making processes of individuals. The aim is to increase our understanding of such processes and this book makes a significant addition to this line of research. It surpasses most of the existing literature because it compares the explanatory power of different learning processes. There are few other works that conduct such a comparison, yet it is widely believed that such comparisons are essential to proceed scientifically. Furthermore, the author studies a game situation which is rarely found in the literature, which is simple to understand and which has many interesting features.’
– Thomas Brenner, Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems, Jena, Germany
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction to Learning 2. Introduction to Little Information 3. Models of Adaptive Learning 4. Related Experimental Literature 5. A Preliminary Experiment 6. The Global-Game Experiment 7. The Value of Information 8. Measurement of Predictive Success 9. Discussion and Outlook Appendix A. Instructions for the Experiment on Mutual Fate Control Appendix B. Data of the Experiment on Mutual Fate Control Appendix C. Accordance with Experimentation Learning in the Mutual Fate Control Game Appendix D. Instructions for the Global-Game Experiment Appendix E. Definition of the Starting Round of Coordination References Index