Learning by Trial and Error

Abstract: A person learns by trial and error if he occasionally tries out new strategies,
rejecting choices that are erroneous in the sense that they do not lead to higher payoffs. In a game, however, strategies can become erroneous due to a change of behavior by someone else. We introduce a learning rule in which behavior is conditional on whether a player experiences an error of the first or second type. This rule, called interactive trial and error learning, implements Nash equilibrium behavior in any game with generic payoffs and at least one pure Nash equilibrium.

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Biography: Peyton Young is a pioneer in evolutionary game theory and its application to the study of institutional and technological change. He has also made major contributions to the theory of learning in games. His most recent books on these subjects are: Strategic Learning and its Limits (Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures, Oxford University Press, 2004), and Individual Strategy and Social Structure: An Evolutionary Theory of Institutions (Princeton University Press, 1998). Other books include Fair Allocation (American Mathematical Society, 1985, ed.), Cost Allocation: Methods, Principles, Applications (North-Holland, 1985, ed.), Negotiation Analysis (University of Michigan Press, 1991, ed.), Equity in Theory and Practice (Princeton University Press, 1994), Social Dynamics (MIT Press, 2001, ed. with Steven Durlauf), and Fair Representation (2nd ed., The Brookings Institution, 2001, with M.L. Balinski).

He is President of the Game Theory Society, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

Peyton Young