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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.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00512.x
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 76 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 181-221

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:181-221
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  1. Rosemarie Nagel & Antonio Cabrales & Roc Armenter, 2002. "Equilibrium selection through incomplete information in coordination games: An experimental study," Economics Working Papers 601, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Stephen Morris & Hyun S Shin, 2001. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001080, David K. Levine.
  3. Schechter, Laura, 2007. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 272-292, February.
  4. Schmidt, David & Shupp, Robert & Walker, James M. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2003. "Playing safe in coordination games:: the roles of risk dominance, payoff dominance, and history of play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 281-299, February.
  5. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
  6. Christian Hellwig, 2002. "Imperfect Common Knowledge of Preferences in Global Coordination Games (October 2002)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 211, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
  8. Carlsson, H. & Van Damme, E., 1990. "Global Games And Equilibrium Selection," Papers 9052, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  9. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  10. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  11. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  12. AUMANN, Robert J. & DREZE, Jacques H., 2005. "Assessing strategic risk," CORE Discussion Papers 2005020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  14. 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, 09.
  15. Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2004. "Auctions with Resale When Private Values Are Uncertain: Theory and Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin, 2001. "Coordination and information: recent experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 345-351, December.
  18. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
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