Economic Darwinism

Theory and Decision 70 (3):385-398 (2011)
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Abstract

We define an evolutionary process of “economic Darwinism” for playing the field, symmetric games. The process captures two forces. One is “economic selection”: if current behavior leads to payoff differences, behavior yielding lowest payoff has strictly positive probability of being replaced by an arbitrary behavior. The other is “mutation”: any behavior has at any point in time a strictly positive, very small probability of shifting to an arbitrary behavior. We show that behavior observed frequently is in accordance with “evolutionary equilibrium”, a static equilibrium concept suggested in the literature. Using this result, we demonstrate that generally under positive (negative) externalities, economic Darwinism implies even more under- (over-)activity than does Nash equilibrium

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