IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Coordination, Communication and Common Knowledge: A Retrospective on Electronic Mail Game



Common knowledge plays an important role in coordination problems and coordination problems are central to many areas of economic policy. In this paper, I review some common knowledge puzzles culminating in the electronic mail game. These puzzles may seem distant from practical concerns. However, I then argue why insights derived from this literature are useful in interpreting empirical evidence of how people coordinate under uncertainty and in understanding the role of communication in coordinating behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Morris, 2003. "Coordination, Communication and Common Knowledge: A Retrospective on Electronic Mail Game," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1401, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1401
    Note: CFP 1060.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christina E. Metz, 2002. "Private and Public Information in Self-fulfilling Currency Crises," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 65-85, May.
    2. David Frankel & Ady Pauzner, 2000. "Resolving Indeterminacy in Dynamic Settings: The Role of Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 285-304.
    3. Blume Lawrence E., 1995. "The Statistical Mechanics of Best-Response Strategy Revision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 111-145, November.
    4. Dilip Abreu & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2003. "Bubbles and Crashes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 173-204, January.
    5. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-597, June.
    6. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-1071, September.
    7. Frankel, David M. & Morris, Stephen & Pauzner, Ady, 2003. "Equilibrium selection in global games with strategic complementarities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-44, January.
    8. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
    9. Adsera, Alicia & Ray, Debraj, 1998. "History and Coordination Failure," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 267-276, September.
    10. Shin, Hyun Song & Morris, Stephen, 2000. "Welfare effects of public information," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,07, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    11. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
    12. Matsui Akihiko & Matsuyama Kiminori, 1995. "An Approach to Equilibrium Selection," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 415-434, April.
    13. Burdzy, Krzysztof & Frankel, David M & Pauzner, Ady, 2001. "Fast Equilibrium Selection by Rational Players Living in a Changing World," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 163-189, January.
    14. Stephen Morris, "undated". "Interaction Games: A Unified Analysis of Incomplete Information, Local Interaction and Random Matching," Penn CARESS Working Papers 1879bf5487d743edef7f32bb2, Penn Economics Department.
    15. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose Scheinkman, 2000. "Non-Market Interactions," NBER Working Papers 8053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. David P Myatt & Chris Wallace, "undated". "Adaptive dynamics with payoff heterogeneit," Economics Papers W31., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    17. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1275R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Aug 2001.
    18. Antonio Ciccone & James Costain, 2004. "On payoff heterogeneity in games with strategic complementarities," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 701-713, October.
    19. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 2004. "Coordination risk and the price of debt," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 133-153, February.
    20. Berthold Herrendorf & Akos Valentinyi & Robert Waldmann, 2000. "Ruling Out Multiplicity and Indeterminacy: The Role of Heterogeneity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 295-307.
    21. Hellwig, Christian, 2002. "Public Information, Private Information, and the Multiplicity of Equilibria in Coordination Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 191-222, December.
    22. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Nash equilibrium with strategic complementarities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Common knowledge; Coordination; Communication;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

    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:cwl:cwldpp:1401. 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: (Matthew Regan). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.