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Unbeatable Imitation

DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2012.05.002

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Abstract:

We show that for many classes of symmetric two-player games, the simple decision rule "imitate-the-best" can hardly be beaten by any other decision rule. We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for imitation to be unbeatable and show that it can only be beaten by much in games that are of the rock-scissors-paper variety. Thus, in many interesting examples, like 2x2 games, Cournot duopoly, price competition, rent seeking, public goods games, common pool resource games, minimum effort coordination games, arms race, search, bargaining, etc., imitation cannot be beaten by much even by a very clever opponent.

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