Analogies and Theories: The Role of Simplicity and the Emergence of Norms


Games and Economic Behavior

janvier 2014, vol. 83, pp.267–283

Départements : Economie et Sciences de la décision, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Case-based reasoning, Rule-based reasoning, Model selection, Social norms, Equilibrium selection

We consider the dynamics of reasoning by general rules (theories) and by specific cases (analogies). When an agent faces an exogenous process, we show that, under mild conditions, if reality happens to be simple, the agent will converge to adopt a theory and discard analogical thinking. If, however, reality is complex, analogical reasoning is unlikely to disappear. By contrast, when the agent is a player in a large population coordination game, and the process is generated by all players' predictions, convergence to a theory is much more likely. This may explain how a large population of players selects an equilibrium in such a game, and how social norms emerge. Mixed cases, involving noisy endogenous processes are likely to give rise to complex dynamics of reasoning, switching between theories and analogies