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Measuring Strategic Uncertainty in Coordination Games


  • Frank Heinemann
  • Rosemarie Nagel
  • Peter Ockenfels


This paper proposes a method to measure strategic uncertainty by eliciting certainty equivalents analogous to measuring risk attitudes in lotteries. We apply this method by conducting experiments on a class of one-shot coordination games with strategic complementarities and choices between simple lotteries and sure payoff alternatives, both framed in a similar way. Despite the multiplicity of equilibria in the coordination games, aggregate behaviour is fairly predictable. The pure or mixed Nash equilibria cannot describe subjects' behaviour. We present two global games with private information about monetary payoffs and about risk aversion. While previous literature treats the parameters of a global game as given, we estimate them and show that both models describe observed behaviour well. The global-game selection for vanishing noise of private signals offers a good recommendation for actual players, given the observed distribution of actions. We also deduce subjective beliefs and compare them with objective probabilities. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2009. "Measuring Strategic Uncertainty in Coordination Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 181-221.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:181-221

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    17. Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2004. "The Theory of Global Games on Test: Experimental Analysis of Coordination Games with Public and Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1583-1599, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations


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