Working Papers, Center for Mathematical Economics 505
We consider a model of stochastic evolution under general noisy best response protocols, allowing the probabilities of suboptimal choices to depend on their payoff consequences. Our analysis focuses on behavior in the small noise double limit: we first take the noise level in agents' decisions to zero, and then take the population size to infinity. We show that in this double limit, escape from and transitions between equilibria can be described in terms of solutions to continuous optimal control problems. These are used in turn to characterize the asymptotics of the the stationary distribution, and so to determine the stochastically stable states. The control problems are tractable in certain interesting cases, allowing analytical descriptions of the escape dynamics and long run behavior of the stochastic evolutionary process.