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Simple heuristics as equilibrium strategies in mutual sequential mate search

Saglam, Ismail (2013): Simple heuristics as equilibrium strategies in mutual sequential mate search.

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Abstract

In this paper, we study whether simple heuristics can arise as equilibrium strategies in mutual sequential mate search. To this aim, we extend the mate search model of Todd and Miller (1999), involving an adolescence (learning) phase followed by an actual mating phase, to a strategic game where the players, as the individuals in the mating population, choose before starting the adolescence phase, the best rule - among the four available search (aspiration adjustment) rules - to maximize their likelihood of mating, given the choice of other individuals. Conducting Monte Carlo simulations, we show that the use of the Take the Next Best Rule by the whole population never becomes a (Nash) equilibrium in the simulation range of adolescence lengths. While the unanimous use of the Adjust Relative Rule by the whole population arises as an equilibrium for a wide part of the simulation range, especially for medium to high adolescence lengths, the rules Adjust Up/Down and Adjust Relative/2 are unanimously chosen as equilibrium strategies for a small part of the simulation range and only when the adolescence is long and short, respectively.

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