Alright, so life got in the way of writing my reviews the last few days, but here’s today’s selection of articles in game theory and related topics from last month.
Bayesian versus heuristic-based choice under sleep restriction and suboptimal times of day, in Games and Economic Behavior. Ooh, so experimental behavioral science. It mentions “suboptimal times of day” in the title but doesn’t in the abstract. Ah, so “suboptimal times of day” means they classified subjects beforehand into morning-types and evening-types through a long-term self-reported survey, and then presented the subjects with one of those silly behavioral economics tasks, one week under sleep deprivation, one week under adequate rest. The result: sleep deprivation makes people switch from Bayesian decision making (i.e. maximizing expected utility in accordance with the laws of probability) to reinforcement heuristic-based decision making (a sort of commitment bias, if i need to be concise). Being “circadian-mismatched” apparently doesn’t, and there’s hints that it makes you a better Bayesian optimizer instead. I might be misunderstanding the results a bit. This stuff is dense and i’m too sleep-deprived to bother going into it in the detail it deserves.
Nonparametric utility theory in strategic settings: Revealing preferences and beliefs from proposal–response games, in Games and Economic Behavior. Cool, another economic experiment. Okay, so there’s a chance that “nonparametric utility theory” might mean doing utility theory based not on a real-valued utility function but on preferences between outcomes. Let’s look at the paper to see if the conjecture holds… Ah, they don’t ever mention “nonparametric” again from the abstract to the conclusion. But yes, they’re using comparisons between binary lotteries and axiomatically describe the properties of such comparisons. There’s also a few references with “nonparametric” in the title. The conclusions of the study sound interesting too. This is worth a look someday.
Evolved attitudes to idiosyncratic and aggregate risk in age-structured populations, in the Journal of Economic Theory. What even is this paper about?! Let’s read the introduction and see how far i can follow it. Ah, okay, population genetics with choice. “Idiosyncratic risk” means risk to the individual, and “aggregate risk” means risk to the population as a whole. This sounds intense and worth a look, insofar as i’ve enjoyed toying with population genetics before.
Competition among procrastinators, in Theory and Decision. That’s an attention-grabbing title for sure. This paper means to dispute a two-decade-old result showing that making procrastinators compete reduces procrastination. Not so fast: if procrastinators underestimate their future self-control problems, competition won’t solve the problem. The author adds some policy suggestions. I should definitely read this as soon as i have some time, both for the model and the practical consequences.
Gender gaps in salary negotiations: Salary requests and starting salaries in the field, in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Ah, so women are paid less because they negotiate for lower salaries than men do, but also they’re offered lower salaries on the same request.
A class of asymptotically optimal group testing strategies to identify good items, in Discrete Applied Mathematics. Here “group testing” means something like the classical problem with the fake coin hiding among a bunch of good coins, and having to locate the fake coin with the minimum number of weighings. “Identifying good items” means that you’re trying to locate the good coins instead, and “asymptotically optimal” means that you get closer to the optimum as your problem involves larger numbers of coins. Or that’s what i understand from the abstract.
Optimal pebbling number of graphs with given minimum degree, in Discrete Applied Mathematics. Essentially: how many pebbles do you need to distribute among the nodes of a graph so that you can reach any vertex through pebbling moves (you go from one node to the next by removing two pebbles from here and placing one over there?). Just go read the abstract. It explains itself well enough.
Explore First, Exploit Next: The True Shape of Regret in Bandit Problems, in Mathematics of Operations Research. Huh. One of the authors is Pierre Ménard, author of the Quixote. So the bandit problem is a sort of stochastic optimization problem, something like having to choose among many slot machines without even knowing what each machine’s odds are. “Regret” means how far your winnings are from the optimal strategy’s winnings. I suppose i’d look at this if it was a problem i cared about, though according to the Wikipedia article it has several interesting applications.
Rare Nash Equilibria and the Price of Anarchy in Large Static Games, in Mathematics of Operations Research. Ah, asymptotic noncooperative game theory. The “price of anarchy” is the ratio between the social welfare at its optimum and the social welfare at the Nash equilibrium. So this is essentially a study on how individual decisions harm society as the number of individuals grows very large. Cool stuff.
An option-theoretic model of a reputation network, in the Journal of Mathematical Sociology. «This paper constructs a new theory of social networks based on reputation. The model assumes that reputation is an asset and that individuals connect by buying options on the reputation of others». Wait, wait, wait, what. I need to know this model. And i need to know that this model reflects actual social networks and isn’t just abstract nonsense. Let’s dig in someday.
We have three working papers from the National Bureau of Economic Research:
Scabs: The Social Suppression of Labor Supply. Ah, econometrics on the effects of discrimination on the labor supply. The specific type of discrimination being studied is that people are less likely to accept jobs at below-typical wages if others can see that they are. The crucial finding: «workers pay to punish anonymous laborers who have accepted wage cuts—indicating that cartel behavior is reinforced through the threat of social sanctions».
The Indeterminacy Agenda in Macroeconomics. Read the abstract. This is exciting stuff. Here’s a big claim: «The indeterminacy agenda provides a microeconomic foundation to Keynes’ General Theory that does not rely on the assumption that prices and wages are costly to change». Why haven’t i finished Keynes yet. I hate to be missing out on this.
Excessive Entry and Exit in Export Markets. More microeconomics, attempting to explain why there are so many new firms and so many exiting firms in the Chinese export market.
And finally, seven arXiv preprints:
On Policy Evaluation with Aggregate Time-Series Shocks. Technical econometric stuff.
Resolving New Keynesian Anomalies with Wealth in the Utility Function. Technical macroeconomic stuff. Worth a look someday because it might have references on dynamic models of the economy (it speaks of sinks and sources, there’s no way i can’t find a clue there).
Characterizing Shadow Price via Lagrangian Multiplier for Nonsmooth Problem. Technical optimization stuff. Here «an application to electricity pricing is discussed», so it’s worth a look for that alone.
The Interplay of Competition and Cooperation Among Service Providers (Part I). Applied noncooperative game theory with mobile network service providers. There is a part II “next month”, i.e. in June.
Manipulating a Learning Defender and Ways to Counteract. Alright, now this article makes cybersecurity applications of game theory sound exciting.
Computational Aspects of Equilibria in Discrete Preference Games. Ah, (noncooperative) games on (social) networks. I dunno.
Perception towards Electric Vehicles and the Impact on Consumers’ Preference. An econometric study. Not much to say here.