Payoff dominance, a criterion for choosing between equilibrium points in games, is intuitively compelling, especially in matching games and other games of common interests, but it has not been justified from standard game-theoretic rationality assumptions. A psychological explanation of it is offered in terms of a form of reasoning that we call the Stackelberg heuristic in which players assume that their strategic thinking will be anticipated by their co-player(s). Two-person games are called Stackelberg-soluble if the players' strategies that maximize against (...) their co-players' best replies intersect in a Nash equilibrium. Proofs are given that every game of common interests is Stackelberg-soluble, that a Stackelberg solution is always a payoff-dominant outcome, and that in every game with multiple Nash equilibria a Stackelberg solution is a payoff-dominant equilibrium point. It is argued that the Stackelberg heuristic may be justified by evidentialist reasoning. (shrink)
According to decision theory, the rational initial action in a sequential decision-problem may be found by backward induction or folding back. But the reasoning which underwrites this claim appeals to the agent's beliefs about what she will later believe, about what she will later believe she will still later believe, and so forth. There are limits to the depth of people's beliefs. Do these limits pose a threat to the standard theory of rational sequential choice? It is argued, first, that (...) the traditional solutions of certain games depend on knowledge which exceeds depth limits, and that these solutions therefore cannot be shown rational in the usual sense. Then, for that related reason even folding back solutions of one-person problems cannot be! A revision of our notion of rational choice is proposed, analogous to the reliabilist account of knowledge of Goldman and others, by which this paradox is resolved. (shrink)
An introduction to the special issue on epistemic logic and the foundations of game theory edited by Michael Bacharach and Philippe Mongin. Contributors are Michael Bacharach, Robert Stalnaker, Salvatore Modica and Aldo Rustichini, Luc Lismont and Philippe Mongin, and Hyun-Song Shin and Timothy Williamson.
A person is said to be ‘trust responsive’ if she fulfils trust because she believes the truster trusts her. The experiment we report was designed to test for trust responsiveness and its robustness across payoff structures, and to discriminate it from other possible factors making for trustworthiness, including perceived kindness, perceived need and inequality aversion. We elicit the truster’s confidence that the trustee will fulfil, and the trustee’s belief about the truster’s confidence after the trustee receives evidence relevant to this. (...) We find evidence of strong trust responsiveness. We also find that perceptions of kindness and of need increase trust responsiveness, and that they do so only in conjunction with trust responsiveness. (shrink)