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The emergence of salience: An experimental investigation

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  • Federica Alberti

    (University of Kent)

  • Shaun Hargreaves Heap

    (School of Economics and CBESS, University of East Anglia)

  • Robert Sugden

    (School of Economics and CBESS, University of East Anglia)

Abstract

In this experiment, individuals recurrently play coordination games that are similar to, but not identical with, one another. Initially, subjects are no more successful than if they had acted at random, but coordination rates gradually increase to levels similar to those found in one-shot games with “obvious†focal points. Subjects seem to coordinate by choosing actions that are similar to ones that have previously been successful. This leads to the emergence of different similarity conventions – interpretable as different conceptions of salience – in different groups of players. We present a simple model of learning which organizes our main findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 11-01.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:11-01

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Related research

Keywords: Salience; focal point; similarity; coordination game;

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  1. Vincent P. Crawford & Uri Gneezy & Yuval Rottenstreich, 2008. "The Power of Focal Points Is Limited: Even Minute Payoff Asymmetry May Yield Large Coordination Failures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1443-58, September.
  2. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1988. "Similarity and decision-making under risk (is there a utility theory resolution to the Allais paradox?)," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 145-153, October.
  3. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1995. "Case-Based Decision Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 605-39, August.
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