School of Economics and Finance

No. 676: On the Impossibility of Regret Minimization in Repeated Games

Karl Schlag , University of Vienna
Andriy Zapechelnyuk , Queen Mary, University of London

December 1, 2010

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Regret minimizing strategies for repeated games have been receiving increasing attention in the literature. These are simple adaptive behavior rules that exhibit nice convergence properties. If all players follow regret minimizing strategies, their average joint play converges to the set of correlated equilibria or to the Hannan set (depending on the notion of regret in use), or even to Nash equilibrium on certain classes of games. In this note we raise the question of validity of the regret minimization objective. By example we show that regret minimization can lead to unrealistic behavior, since it fails to take into account the effect of one's actions on subsequent behavior of the opponents. An amended notion of regret that corrects this defect is not very useful either, since achieving a no-regret objective is not guaranteed in that case

J.E.L classification codes: C73, D81

Keywords:Repeated games, Regret minimization, No-regret strategy