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A Model of Behavior in Coordination Game Experiments


  • Martin Sefton



This paper constructs a structural model for behavior in expeiments where subjects play a simple coordination game repeatedly under a rotating partner scheme. The model assumes subjects' actions are stochastic best responses to beliefs about opponents' choices, and these beliefs update as subjects observe actual choices during the experiment. The model accounts for heterogeneity across subjects by regarding prior beliefs as random effects and estimating their distribution. Maximum likelihood estimates from experimental data suggest that distributions of initial beliefs vary across games, but in all games studied imply a convergence dynamic toward risk-dominant equilibrium. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Sefton, 1999. "A Model of Behavior in Coordination Game Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 151-164, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:2:y:1999:i:2:p:151-164
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1009948206599

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Clark & Stephen Kay & Martin Sefton, 2001. "When are Nash equilibria self-enforcing? An experimental analysis," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 29(4), pages 495-515.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
    3. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-771.
    4. A. Roth & I. Er’ev, 2010. "Learning in Extensive Form Games: Experimental Data and Simple Dynamic Models in the Intermediate Run," Levine's Working Paper Archive 387, David K. Levine.
    5. Boylan Richard T. & El-Gamal Mahmoud A., 1993. "Fictitious Play: A Statistical Study of Multiple Economic Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 205-222, April.
    6. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
    7. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Rankin, Frederick W, 1997. "On the Origin of Convention: Evidence from Coordination Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 576-596, May.
    8. Battalio,R. & Samuelson,L. & Huyck,J. van, 1998. "Risk dominance, payoff dominance and probabilistic choice learning," Working papers 2, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    9. Ulrich Kamecke, 1997. "note: Rotations: Matching Schemes that Efficiently Preserve the Best Reply Structure of a One Shot Game," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 26(3), pages 409-417.
    10. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
    11. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    12. Offerman, Theo & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1998. "Quantal response models in step-level public good games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 89-100, February.
    13. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport, 2002. "Tacit Coordination in a Decentralized Market Entry Game with Fixed Capacity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(3), pages 253-272, December.
    2. Battalio,R. & Samuelson,L. & Huyck,J. van, 1998. "Risk dominance, payoff dominance and probabilistic choice learning," Working papers 2, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    3. Rudy Santore & Michael McKee & David Bjornstad, 2010. "Patent Pools as a Solution to Efficient Licensing of Complementary Patents? Some Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 167-183, February.
    4. Alm, James & McKee, Michael, 2004. "Tax compliance as a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 297-312, July.
    5. Antonio Cabrales & Walter Garcia Fontes, 2000. "Estimating learning models from experimental data," Economics Working Papers 501, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.


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