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Ill-Defined versus Precise Pre-Play Communication in the Traveler’s Dilemma

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Author Info

  • Sujoy Chakravarty

    ()
    (Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India;)

  • Emmanuel Dechenaux

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA;)

  • Jaideep Roy

    ()
    (Department of Economics, JG Smith Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK;)

Abstract

This article reports results from an experiment comparing the effects of vague versus precise pre-play communication in a highly competitive two-player game with conflicting interests. In the classic Traveler’s Dilemma, non-binding precise messages about intent of play are pure cheap talk. We conjecture that a form of imprecise pre-play communication whereby subjects can submit ill-defined messages may help foster cooperation because of their vagueness. Comparing behavior both across modes of communication and to a baseline case without communication, we find that cooperation is highest when players can communicate using precise numerical messages. When communication with ill-defined messages is allowed, then conditional on receiving a message, subjects act more cooperatively than when no message is received. However, overall, the ability to exchange ill-defined messages does not substantially improve cooperation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 77 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 351-368

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:77:2:y:2010:p:351-368

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Morone & Piergiuseppe Morone, 2012. "Individual and Group Behaviours in the Traveller's Dilemma: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2012/09, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).

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