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Ignorance Is Bliss: An Experimental Study of the Use of Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Coordination Games with Asymmetric Payoffs

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  • Marina Agranov
  • Andrew Schotter

Abstract

We consider a game where one player, the Announcer, has to communicate the value of a payoff relevant state of the world to a set of players who play a coordination game with multiple equilibria. While the Announcer and the players agree that coordination is desirable, since the payoffs of the players at the equilibria are unequal, they disagree as to which equilibrium is best. We demonstrate experimentally that in such coordination games, in order to mask the asymmetry of equilibrium payoffs, it may be advantageous for a utilitarian benevolent Announcer to communicate in an ambiguous or vague manner. (JEL C71, D81, D83)

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Agranov & Andrew Schotter, 2012. "Ignorance Is Bliss: An Experimental Study of the Use of Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Coordination Games with Asymmetric Payoffs," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 77-103, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:77-103
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.2.77
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli & Luigi Luini, 2017. "Does Focality Depend on the Mode of Cognition? Experimental Evidence on Pure Coordination Games," Department of Economics University of Siena 771, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Armenak Antinyan & Luca Corazzini & Elena D'Agostino & Filippo Pavesi, 2017. "Watch your Words: an Experimental Study on Communication and the Opportunity Cost of Delegation," Working Papers 18/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    3. de Groot Ruiz, Adrian & Offerman, Theo & Onderstal, Sander, 2015. "Equilibrium selection in experimental cheap talk games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 14-25.
    4. Buyukboyaci, Muruvvet & Kucuksenel, Serkan, 2016. "Coordination and Cheap Talk: Indirect versus Direct Messages," MPRA Paper 68964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Khalmetski, Kiryl & Rockenbach, Bettina & Werner, Peter, 2017. "Evasive lying in strategic communication," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 59-72.
    6. Adrian de Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2011. "Equilibrium Selection in Cheap Talk Games: ACDC rocks when Other Criteria remain silent," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-037/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 Oct 2011.
    7. Agranov, Marina & Schotter, Andrew, 2013. "Language and government coordination: An experimental study of communication in the announcement game," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 26-39.
    8. Adrian Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2014. "For those about to talk we salute you: an experimental study of credible deviations and ACDC," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 173-199, June.
    9. Adrian de Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Credible Deviations and ACDC," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-153/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Ginger Zhe Jin & Michael Luca & Daniel Martin, 2015. "Is No News (Perceived as) Bad News? An Experimental Investigation of Information Disclosure," NBER Working Papers 21099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian & Spiwoks, Markus, 2015. "Strategic coordination in forecasting – An experimental study," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 155-162.
    12. Bizer, Kilian & Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Spiwoks, Markus, 2014. "Strategic coordination in forecasting: An experimental study," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 195, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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