Journal Of The Econometric Society

An International Society for the Advancement of Economic
Theory in its Relation to Statistics and Mathematics

Edited by: Guido W. Imbens • Print ISSN: 0012-9682 • Online ISSN: 1468-0262

Econometrica: Sep, 2022, Volume 90, Issue 5

Structural Rationality in Dynamic Games
p. 2437-2469

Marciano Siniscalchi

The analysis of dynamic games hinges on assumptions about players' actions and beliefs at information sets that are not expected to be reached during game play. Under the standard notion of sequential rationality, these assumptions cannot be tested on the basis of observed, on‐path behavior. This paper introduces a novel optimality criterion, structural rationality, which addresses this concern. In any dynamic game, structural rationality implies weak sequential rationality (Reny (1992)). If players are structurally rational, assumptions about on‐path and off‐path beliefs concerning off‐path actions can be tested via suitable “side bets.” Structural rationality also provides a theoretical rationale for the use of a novel version of the strategy method (Selten (1967)) in experiments.

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