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Classical versus evolutionary game theory

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Abstract:

Classical and evolutionary game theory attempt to explain different phenomena. Classical game theory describes socially and temporally isolated encounters while evolutionary game theory describes macro-social behavioural regularities. The actors in classical game theory are payoff maximizers whose identity remains fixed during the course of play. By contrast, in evolutionary game theory, the players are constantly changing, and the central actor is a replicator -- an entity having some means of making approximately accurate copies of itself. However successful in its own realm, evolutionary game theory is ill-constructed to model the phenomena addressed by classical game theory. We must look to as yet undeveloped principles to achieve classical game theory's unfulfilled promise. I indicate a possibly fruitful step in this direction.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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