ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

A Theory of Simplicity in Games and Mechanism Design

Friday, October 15, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Online Location, Zoom Meeting

ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2021 semester will feature:

Peter Troyan

University of Virginia

A Theory of Simplicity in Games and Mechanism Design

 

Please contact ICES Office Manager (sbahabib@gmu.edu) for Zoom link.

 

Abstract

We introduce a general class of simplicity standards that vary the foresight abilities required of agents in extensive-form games. Rather than planning for the entire future of a game, agents are presumed to be able to plan only for those histories they view as simple from their current perspective. Agents may update their so-called strategic plan as the game progresses, and, at any point, for the called-for action to be simply dominant, it must lead to unambiguously better outcomes, no matter what occurs at non-simple histories. We use our gradated approach to simplicity to provide characterizations of simple mechanisms. While more demanding simplicity standards may reduce the flexibility of the designer in some cases, this is not always true, and many well-known mechanisms are simple, including ascending auctions, posted prices, and serial dictatorship-style mechanisms. In particular, we explain the widespread popular- ity of the well-known Random Priority mechanism by characterizing it as the unique mechanism that is efficient, fair, and simple to play.

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.

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