Comparative statics of a signaling game

An experimental study

J.J.M. Potters, F. van Winden

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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Abstract

In this paper a simple and basic signaling game is studied in an experimental environment. First, we check whether we can replicate some of the findings in the literature concerning equilibrium selection and the use and impact of costly signals. Second, and foremost, the comparative statics implications of the game are studied. The experimental results are related to the predictions of two competing behavioral models: a game model, in which subjects are assumed to behave in line with (refined) sequential equilibrium theory, and a decision model, in which subjects are assumed to behave as non-strategic decision makers. The experimental outcomes replicate the finding in the literature that costly messages are sent more frequently by 'higher' sender types (whose information is such that persuasion is also profitable to the responder), and that such messages have an impact on the behavior of the responder. These results are consistent with (versions of) both the game model and the decision model. The comparative statics results, however, clearly point in the direction of the decision model. Play is most strongly affected by 'own' payoff parameters, as predicted by the decision model, and less so by opponent's payoff parameters, as predicted by the mixed strategies of the refined sequential equilibrium. Particularly, a decision model in which players are assumed to adapt beliefs about opponents' choice probabilities in response to experience in previous play, appears to succeed best in organizing the data.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Volume1995-126
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper
Volume1995-126

Fingerprint

Experimental study
Comparative statics
Decision model
Signaling games
Sequential equilibrium
Prediction
Decision maker
Behavioral model
Equilibrium selection
Equilibrium theory
Organizing
Persuasion
Mixed strategy

Keywords

  • game theory

Cite this

Potters, J. J. M., & van Winden, F. (1995). Comparative statics of a signaling game: An experimental study. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 1995-126). Unknown Publisher.
Potters, J.J.M. ; van Winden, F. / Comparative statics of a signaling game : An experimental study. Unknown Publisher, 1995. (CentER Discussion Paper).
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abstract = "In this paper a simple and basic signaling game is studied in an experimental environment. First, we check whether we can replicate some of the findings in the literature concerning equilibrium selection and the use and impact of costly signals. Second, and foremost, the comparative statics implications of the game are studied. The experimental results are related to the predictions of two competing behavioral models: a game model, in which subjects are assumed to behave in line with (refined) sequential equilibrium theory, and a decision model, in which subjects are assumed to behave as non-strategic decision makers. The experimental outcomes replicate the finding in the literature that costly messages are sent more frequently by 'higher' sender types (whose information is such that persuasion is also profitable to the responder), and that such messages have an impact on the behavior of the responder. These results are consistent with (versions of) both the game model and the decision model. The comparative statics results, however, clearly point in the direction of the decision model. Play is most strongly affected by 'own' payoff parameters, as predicted by the decision model, and less so by opponent's payoff parameters, as predicted by the mixed strategies of the refined sequential equilibrium. Particularly, a decision model in which players are assumed to adapt beliefs about opponents' choice probabilities in response to experience in previous play, appears to succeed best in organizing the data.",
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Potters, JJM & van Winden, F 1995 'Comparative statics of a signaling game: An experimental study' CentER Discussion Paper, vol. 1995-126, Unknown Publisher.

Comparative statics of a signaling game : An experimental study. / Potters, J.J.M.; van Winden, F.

Unknown Publisher, 1995. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 1995-126).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

TY - UNPB

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T2 - An experimental study

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AU - van Winden, F.

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PY - 1995

Y1 - 1995

N2 - In this paper a simple and basic signaling game is studied in an experimental environment. First, we check whether we can replicate some of the findings in the literature concerning equilibrium selection and the use and impact of costly signals. Second, and foremost, the comparative statics implications of the game are studied. The experimental results are related to the predictions of two competing behavioral models: a game model, in which subjects are assumed to behave in line with (refined) sequential equilibrium theory, and a decision model, in which subjects are assumed to behave as non-strategic decision makers. The experimental outcomes replicate the finding in the literature that costly messages are sent more frequently by 'higher' sender types (whose information is such that persuasion is also profitable to the responder), and that such messages have an impact on the behavior of the responder. These results are consistent with (versions of) both the game model and the decision model. The comparative statics results, however, clearly point in the direction of the decision model. Play is most strongly affected by 'own' payoff parameters, as predicted by the decision model, and less so by opponent's payoff parameters, as predicted by the mixed strategies of the refined sequential equilibrium. Particularly, a decision model in which players are assumed to adapt beliefs about opponents' choice probabilities in response to experience in previous play, appears to succeed best in organizing the data.

AB - In this paper a simple and basic signaling game is studied in an experimental environment. First, we check whether we can replicate some of the findings in the literature concerning equilibrium selection and the use and impact of costly signals. Second, and foremost, the comparative statics implications of the game are studied. The experimental results are related to the predictions of two competing behavioral models: a game model, in which subjects are assumed to behave in line with (refined) sequential equilibrium theory, and a decision model, in which subjects are assumed to behave as non-strategic decision makers. The experimental outcomes replicate the finding in the literature that costly messages are sent more frequently by 'higher' sender types (whose information is such that persuasion is also profitable to the responder), and that such messages have an impact on the behavior of the responder. These results are consistent with (versions of) both the game model and the decision model. The comparative statics results, however, clearly point in the direction of the decision model. Play is most strongly affected by 'own' payoff parameters, as predicted by the decision model, and less so by opponent's payoff parameters, as predicted by the mixed strategies of the refined sequential equilibrium. Particularly, a decision model in which players are assumed to adapt beliefs about opponents' choice probabilities in response to experience in previous play, appears to succeed best in organizing the data.

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Potters JJM, van Winden F. Comparative statics of a signaling game: An experimental study. Unknown Publisher. 1995. (CentER Discussion Paper).