A notion of subgame perfect nash equilibrium under knightian uncertainty

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1997-10-09
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We define a subgame perfect Nash equilibrium under Knightian uncertainty for two players, by means of a recursive backward induction procedure. We prove an extension of the Zermelo-von Neumann-Kuhn Theorem for games of perfect information, i. e., that the recursive procedure generates a Nash equilibrium under uncertainty (Dow and Werlang(1994)) of the whole game. We apply the notion for two well known games: the chain store and the centipede. On the one hand, we show that subgame perfection under Knightian uncertainty explains the chain store paradox in a one shot version. On the other hand, we show that subgame perfection under uncertainty does not account for the leaving behavior observed in the centipede game. This is in contrast to Dow, Orioli and Werlang(1996) where we explain by means of Nash equilibria under uncertainty (but not subgame perfect) the experiments of McKelvey and Palfrey(1992). Finally, we show that there may be nontrivial subgame perfect equilibria under uncertainty in more complex extensive form games, as in the case of the finitely repeated prisoner's dilemma, which accounts for cooperation in early stages of the game .


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