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Salience and focusing in pure coordination games

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  • Andrew Colman
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    Abstract

    This article is devoted to explaining why decision makers choose salient equilibria or focal points in pure coordination games - games in which players have identical preferences over the set of possible outcomes. Focal points, even when they arise as framing effects based on the labelling of options, are intuitively obvious choices, and experimental evidence shows that decision makers often coordinate successfully by choosing them. In response to arguments that focusing is not rationally justified, a psychological explanation and a conditional justification is offered in terms of a form of reasoning called the Stackelberg heuristic that has been used to explain the selection of payoff-dominant (Pareto-optimal) equilibria in common-interest games. Pure coordination games, if appropriately modelled, are shown to be reducible to common-interest games with payoff-dominant equilibria, and it is argued that focusing can therefore be explained by the Stackelberg heuristic.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

    Volume (Year): 4 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 61-81

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:4:y:1997:i:1:p:61-81

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RJEC20

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    Related research

    Keywords: coordination game; evidential decision theory; focal point; payoff dominance; salience; Stackelberg heuristic;

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    Cited by:
    1. JoŇ°ko Sindik & Nives Vidak, 2008. "Application of Game Theory in Describing Efficacy of Decision Making in Sportsman's Tactical Performance in Team Sports," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 6(1), pages 53-66.
    2. Nicolai J. Foss, 1998. "Austrian Economics and Game Theory a Preliminary Methodological Stocktaking," DRUID Working Papers 98-28, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Maarten C.W. Janssen, 1997. "Focal Points," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-091/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Maarten C.W. Janssen, 1997. "Focal Points," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-091/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Nicolai J. Foss, 1999. "Understanding Leadership A Coordination Theory," DRUID Working Papers 99-3, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    6. Colman, Andrew M. & Stirk, Jonathan A., 1998. "Stackelberg reasoning in mixed-motive games: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 279-293, April.
    7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2097091 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Natalya Y. Shelkova, 2008. "Low-Wage Labor Markets and the Power of Suggestion," Working papers 2008-33, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.

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