Individual Strategy and Social Structure: An Evolutionary Theory of Institutions

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"Peyton Young's study puts the evolution of institutions on the basis of individual choices in an adaptive and adapting environment. It puts a firm foundation under the vague idea of 'spontaneous order.' The exposition is extraordinarily clear; Young introduces and explains the mathematical tools he uses in his brilliant synthesis and development, which combines ideas from evolutionary theory and the study of learning. The book is accessible to the beginner in the field and yet no one, no matter how expert, will fail to learn something."—Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University, 1972 Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Individual Strategy and Social Structure makes a convincing case for an adaptive, low-rationality, probabilistic approach to game theory and to economics and social science in general."—Alvin E. Roth, Harvard University

"In this well written and elegant volume, Peyton Young takes a large step in redirecting the theory and the problems that game theorists deal with. Rather than asking what is the proper equilibrium notion for a game played by fully rational agents capable of making all necessary calculations, he asks what types of conventions of behavior or social institutions will intelligent but not omniscient agents create for themselves when they repeatedly face the same problem that needs to be solved. Clearly this is what the real world looks like and Young brings us closer to it."—Andrew Schotter, New York University

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Economics
[Individual Strategy and Social Structure] should be a valuable resource for all interested in this extremely valuable and flexible technique. Self-contained and pleasant to read.
From the Publisher
"[Individual Strategy and Social Structure] should be a valuable resource for all interested in this extremely valuable and flexible technique. Self-contained and pleasant to read."—Journal of Economics
Journal of Economics
[Individual Strategy and Social Structure] should be a valuable resource for all interested in this extremely valuable and flexible technique. Self-contained and pleasant to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691086873
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/3/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Overview 3
Ch. 2 Learning 25
Ch. 3 Dynamic and Stochastic Stability 44
Ch. 4 Adaptive Learning in Small Games 66
Ch. 5 Variations on the Learning Process 77
Ch. 6 Local Interaction 91
Ch. 7 Equilibrium and Disequilibrium Selection in General Games 103
Ch. 8 Bargaining 113
Ch. 9 Contracts 131
Ch. 10 Conclusion 144
Appendix Proofs of Selected Theorems 151
Notes 173
Bibliography 177
Index 185
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