Proper Belief Revision and Rationalizability in Dynamic Games

A. Perea ý Monsuwé*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


In this paper we develop an epistemic model for dynamic games in which players may revise their beliefs about the opponents’ utility functions as the game proceeds. Within this framework, we propose a rationalizability concept that is based upon the following three principles: (1) at every instance of the game, a player should believe that his opponents are carrying out optimal strategies, (2) a player, at information set h, should not change his belief about an opponent’s relative ranking of two strategies s and s' if both s and s' could have led to h, and (3) the players’ initial beliefs about the opponents’ utility functions should agree on a given profile u of utility functions. Common belief in these events leads to the concept of persistent rationalizability for the profile u of utility functions. It is shown that for a given game tree with observable deviators and a given profile u of utility functions, every properly point-rationalizable strategy is a persistently rationalizable strategy for u. This result implies that persistently rationalizable strategies always exist for all game trees with observable deviators and all profiles of utility functions. We provide an algorithm that can be used to compute the set of persistently rationalizable strategies for a given profile u of utility functions. For generic games with perfect information, persistent rationalizability uniquely selects the backward induction strategy for every player.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-559
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Game Theory
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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