Impulse Response Dynamics in Weakest Link Games

Sebastian J. Goerg, Tibor Neugebauer, Abdolkarim Sadrieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In a recent paper, Croson et al. () experimentally study three weakest link games with multiple symmetric equilibria. They demonstrate that static concepts based on the Nash equilibrium (including multiple Nash equilibria, quantal response equilibria, and equilibrium selection by risk and payoff dominance) cannot successfully capture the observed treatment differences. Using Reinhard Selten's impulse response dynamics, we derive a proposition that provides a theoretical ranking of contribution levels in the weakest link games. We show that the predicted ranking of treatment outcomes is fully consistent with the observed data. In addition, we demonstrate that the impulse response dynamics perform well in tracking average contributions over time. We conclude that Reinhard Selten's impulse response dynamics provide an extremely valuable behavioral approach that is not only capable of resolving the indecisiveness of static approaches in games with many equilibria, but that can also be used to track the development of choices over time in games with repeated interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-297
Number of pages14
JournalGerman Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Impulse balance
  • coordination game
  • experiment
  • impulse learning
  • impulse matching
  • multiple equilibria
  • public goods
  • weakest link


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