When two players compete for a prize, they sometimes try to act as quickly as possible. At other times, they wait and see if the other person chooses to flee first. We study this interaction in the context of a dynamic fight-or-flight game. At each moment, a player can decide to wait, flee or fight. Players are privately informed about their strengths, which in case of a battle determine who wins the prize. In the case that one player flees and manages to escape, the other player earns the prize plus a “chase-away value”. We show that the chase-away value determines if fights occur immediately or only after a waiting period. In cases where the chase-away value is positive but not too large, players can use time to learn something about the type of the opponent, as the weaker players may find it advantageous to flee earlier in the game. Weaker players thereby avoid the risk of ending up in a fight. We derive conditions under which this is the case, and test this experimentally in the lab. Our findings support the idea that endogenous timing can reduce the likelihood of a fight compared to a static version of the game (where players decide simultaneously whether to fight or flee). We also observe many fights early on in the game, even if strong players would benefit from waiting.
Emanuel Vespa is an experimental economist who studies behavior in economic environments using laboratory data. Most of his research is on dynamic games and on contingent thinking. Emanuel joined the faculty at the University of California Santa Barbara after earning his Ph.D. from New York University in 2012. He is currently visiting Stanford University for the academic year.
Joshua B. Miller’s research combines both theory and experiments. He has written papers on blame, accountability, and the perception of social risk. Recently he has been working on projects relating to probabilistic and causal beliefs, and how they are reflected in individual decision making, games, and markets. Joshua earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2009. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
Attila Ambrus is a Professor of Economics at Duke University, and a Research Economist at the NBER. His research spans across topics in microeconomic theory, game theory, experimental economics, political economy and development economics, and include bargaining, strategic communication and delegation, group decision-making, coalition formation, and risk-sharing arrangements on social networks. Dr. Ambrus serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Theory, the International Journal of Game Theory, and the Review of Economic Design. He received his Ph.D. in Economics at Princeton University, and his B.A. at the Budapest University of Economics.
We would like to announce that Paul J. Healy will be giving the next talk in our fall 2016 weekly seminar series, on October 20, 2016. In this talk P.J. will be discussing his paper,“Epistemic Experiments: Utility Elicitation and Irrational Play”.
P.J. Healy’s research combines both theory and experiments. He has written several papers on implementation and mechanism design, as well as work on repeated games, overconfidence, Bayesian updating, and behavioral game theory. His recent work uses extensive elicitation procedures to measure the thought processes behind strategic decision-making. P.J. earned his PhD from Caltech in 2005. He served as an assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business before moving to Ohio State in 2007.
We would like to announce that Ragan Petrie will be giving the second of our fall 2016 weekly seminar series talks, on October 6th, 2016. Her talk is entitled, “Kinks in Rationality.”
Ragan Petrie is an Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include experimental economics and applied microeconomics, including charitable giving, bargaining and gender. She has published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. Dr. Petrie serves as co-editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization as well as an associate editor of the Southern Economic Journal and the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. She received her Ph.D. in Economics and Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and holds a M.P.A. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. in French from the University of Illinois.
Gregory Leo uses game theory and experimental methods to study economic problems. Two of his main research projects include studying the coordination dilemmas that arise when the effort of a few people can benefit many and how to efficiently match people into teams or groups in various environments. Gregory joined the faculty at Vanderbilt university in 2015 after earning his PhD from the University of California Santa Barbara.