Stackelberg reasoning in mixed-motive games: An experimental investigation.

2007-06-21T09:50:22Z (GMT) by Andrew M. Colman J.A. Stirk
The Stackelberg heuristic is a simulation heuristic in which a player optimizes against best-reply counterstrategies, and a game is Stackelberg-soluble if the resulting Stackelberg strategies are in equilibrium. To test the hypothesis that players use this heuristic in Stackelberg-soluble games, 100 subjects played all 12 ordinally nonequivalent 2  2 games, nine of which (including Prisoner’s Dilemma and Stag Hunt) were Stackelberg-soluble and three (including Battle of the Sexes and Chicken) were non-Stackelberg-soluble. Subjects significantly preferred Stackelberg strategies in Stackelberg-soluble games, and a protocol analysis of stated reasons for choice showed that joint payoff maximization and strategic dominance were given as reasons significantly more frequently in Stackelberg-soluble than in non-Stackelberg-soluble games.

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