Strategic Experimentation with Heterogeneous Agents and Payoff Externalities

Paper number: 13/15

Paper date: September 28, 2013

Year: 2013

Paper Category: Discussion Paper

Authors

Kaustav Das

Abstract

This paper analyses a two-player game of strategic experimentation with two-armed bandits. At least one of the arms is risky in the sense that it may not yield a lumpsum payoff. There is payoff externality between the players and they differ in their ability to learn across the risky arm. Either player has to decide in a continous time regarding which arm to use. Two alternative settings are analysed. The first setting has two risky arms which are perfectly negatively correlated. The other one has one safe arm and one risky arm. I show that in equilibrium (Markovian) there is always too much of duplication which implies that with respect to a social planner's solution, risky arms are explored excessively.

JEL Classifcation Numbers: C73, D83, O31.
Keywords: R&D competition, Two-armed Bandit, Duplication, Learning

Strategic Experimentation with Heterogeneous Agents and Payoff Externalities Strategic Experimentation with Heterogeneous Agents and Payoff Externalities