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Tilman Slembeck:

A Behavioral Approach to learning in Economics

In economics, adjustment of behavior has traditionally been treated as a “black box.” Recent approaches that focus on learning behavior try to model, test, and simulate specific adjustment mechanisms in specific environments (mostly in games). Results often critically depend on distinctive assumptions, and are not easy to generalize. This paper proposes a different approach that aims to allow for more general conclusions in a methodologically more compatible way.

University of St.Gallen Department of Economics

first version August 1997

current version prepared for the European Economic Association Congress

Berlin, September 1998

Prof. Tilman Slembeck




Learning in economics - a critical review

Approaches to Economic Learning

Learning in Games

Experimental Approaches: Tests of Learning Mechanisms


Methodological Issues

Contingent Learning

Determinants of Learning

The Number of Actors: Degree of Dependency


Operationalization of Learning

Hypotheses about Determinants of Learning Processes

Concluding Remarks

APPENDIX: A Comparison of Learning Approaches