Evolution of Conventions in Populations with Local Interaction Structures

  • Siegfried K. Berninghaus


It is almost common knowledge in modern societies that conventions regulate many important economic and social processes. Nevertheless, this topic has not received adequate attention in the past neither from empirically oriented nor from theoretical economists. It is the main purpose of this paper to analyze this problem using an analytical model of strategy adaptation in populations with a given social structure (network). In most studies on evolutionary strategy adaptation it is assumed that members of a population are randomly matched with each other member of the population. Seemingly, this does not give a realistic scenario of strategy adaptation in most modern societies where members of a population are matched only with members of their reference groups like families, colleagues at work, etc. However, these groups are typically not isolated from each other. They are interrelated by individual connections, which makes the strategy adaptation problem of a single individual in the population a non-trivial strategic decision problem.


Strategy Adaptation Interaction Structure Neighborhood Size Coordination Problem Strategy Choice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Amir M, Berninghaus S (1996) Another approach to learning and mutation in games. Games and Economic Behavior 14:19–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Berninghaus S (2003) The evolution of conventions-some theoretical and experimental aspects. Jahrbuch für Neue politische Ökonomie 21. In: Holler MJ et al. (eds.) The Political Economy of Institutional Evolution, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pp. 101–132Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM (2001) Information and efficiency in coordination games: Recent experimental results. In: Debreu G, Neue-feind W, Trockel W (eds.) Economics Essays. Springer, Heidelberg, New York, pp. 19–39Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM (2003) The power of ESS: An experimental study. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 13:161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM, Keser C (2002) Conventions and local interaction structures. Games and Economic Behavior 29:177–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM, Keser C (1999) Continuous-time strategy selection in linear population games. Experimental Economics 2:41–57Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM, Keser C (1998) Coordination and local interaction: Experimental evidence. Economics Letters 58:269–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Berninghaus SK, Ehrhart KM (1998) Time horizon and equilibrium selection in tacit coordination games: Experimental results. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 37:231–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Berninghaus S, Ehrhart KM, Ott M, Vogt B (2004) Searching for “stars”–recent experimental results on network formation. SFB 504 Working Paper 04-34, University of MannheimGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Berninghaus SK, Schwalbe U (1996a) Conventions, local interaction, and automata networks. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 6:297–312Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Berninghaus SK, Schwalbe U (1996b) Evolution, interaction, and Nash-equilibria. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 29:57–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Callander S, Plott CR (2005) Principles of network development and evolution: an experimental study. To appear in: Journal of Public EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Cooper RW, De Jong DV, Forsythe R, Ross TW (1992a) Forward induction in coordination games. Economics Letters 40:167–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Cooper RW, De Jong DV, Forsythe R, Ross TW (1992b) Communication in coordination games. Quarterly Journal of Economics 107:739–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Corbae D, Duffy J (2004) Experiments with network formation. Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Dieckmann T (1999) The evolution of conventions with mobile players. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 38:93–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Ellison G (1993) Learning, local interaction, and coordination. Econometrica 61:1047–1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Ely J (1995) Local conventions. Mimeo, University of California, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Falk A, Kosfeld M (2003) Its all about connections: Evidence on network formation. IEW Working Paper 146, Universität ZürichGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Fogelman F, Goles E, Weisbuch G (1983) Transient length in sequential iterations of threshold functions. Disc. Appl. Math. 6:95–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Goles E (1985) Dynamical behavior of neural networks. SIAM J. Alg. Disc. Meth. 6:749–754Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    Harsanyi JC, Selten R (1988) A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Hopper RH (1982) Left-right: Why driving rules differ. Transportation Quarterly 36:541–548Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Kandori M, Mailath GJ, Rob R (1993) Learning, mutation, and long run equilibria in games. Econometrica 61:29–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. [25]
    Lewis DK (1969) Convention-A Philosophical Study. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Ostmann A, Saboya M (1999) Symmetric homogeneous local interaction. Institute of Mathematical Economics, Working paper No. 314Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Robert F (1986) Discrete Iterations: A Metric Study. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. [28]
    Van Huyck J, Battalio RC, Beil RO (1990) Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty and coordination failure. American Economic Review 80:234–248Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Van Huyck J, Battalio RC, Beil RO (1993) Asset markets as an equilibrium selection mechanism: Coordination failure, game form auctions, and tacit communication. Games and Economic Behavior 5:485–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Young HP (1993) The evolution of conventions. Econometrica 61:57–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag/GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siegfried K. Berninghaus
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Wirtschaftstheorie und Operations ResearchUniversität KarlsruheKarlsruhe

Personalised recommendations