Payoff dominance and the Stackelberg heuristic.
journal contributionposted on 21.06.2007, 09:17 by Andrew M. Colman, M. Bacharach
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.