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A Change Would Do You Good .... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations

  • Jordi Brandts
  • David J. Cooper

We study how financial incentives can be used to overcome a history of coordination failure using controlled laboratory experiments. Subjects' payoffs depend on coordinating at high effort levels. In an initial phase, the benefits of coordination are low, and play typically converges to an inefficient outcome. We then explore varying financial incentives to coordinate at a higher effort level. An increase in the benefits of coordination leads to improved coordination, but large increases have no more impact than small increases. Once subjects have coordinated on a higher effort level, reductions in the incentives to coordinate have little effect on behavior. (JEL C92, D23, J31, L23, M52)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 669-693

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:3:p:669-693
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.3.669
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  8. Camerer, Colin F. & Knez, Marc & Weber, Roberto A., 1996. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and Weak Link Coordination Games," Working Papers 970, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-48, March.
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  16. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  17. Battalio, Raymond & Samuelson, Larry & Van Huyck, John, 2001. "Optimization Incentives and Coordination Failure in Laboratory Stag Hunt Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 749-64, May.
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  21. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "Observability and Overcoming Coordination Failure in Organizations. An Experimental Study," Working Papers 143, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  22. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-72, October.
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