IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Payoff Calculator Data: An Inexpensive Window into Decision Making


  • Jordi Brandts
  • David J. Cooper


Payoff calculators provide a source of information about subjects’ decision making process that is cheap, frequently available, and rarely used. We study data from an experiment designed to look at a difficult coordination problem. The experiments were *not* designed to study payoff calculator use; the payoff calculator was included as a tool for helping subjects to understand the payoffs. Our goal is to show that data about payoff calculator usage can yield useful insights about subjects’ decision making. The main issue in the game is whether players will successful coordinate, and, if so, whether they coordinate at an efficient equilibrium or a safe one. We find that initial searches using the calculator have predictive power for the total surplus and probability of coordinating for a pair in the long run. Specifically, searches consistent with the efficient equilibrium reduce total surplus and the probability of coordinating. These conclusions remain true after controlling for a pair’s initial outcomes, indicating that the data about calculator searches has predictive power beyond the pairs’ initial outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2016. "Payoff Calculator Data: An Inexpensive Window into Decision Making," Working Papers 903, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:903

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Till Requate & Israel Waichman, 2011. "“A profit table or a profit calculator?” A note on the design of Cournot oligopoly experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 36-46, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Coordination; experiments; Organizations; asymmetric Information;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:903. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.