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Who Matters in Coordination Problems?

We consider a common investment project that is vulnerable to a self-fulfilling coordination failure and hence is strategically risky. Based on their private information, agents { who have heterogeneous investment incentives - form expectations or "sentiments" about the project's outcome. We find that the sum of these sentiments is constant across different strategy profiles and it is independent of the distribution of incentives. As a result, we can think of sentiment as a scarce resource divided up among the different payoff types. Applying this finding, we show that agents who benefit little from the project's success have a large impact on the coordination process. The agents with small benefits invest only if their sentiment towards the project is large per unit investment cost. As the average sentiment is constant, a subsidy decreasing the investment costs of these agents will "free up" a large amount of sentiment, provoking a large impact on the whole economy. Intuitively, these agents, insensitive to the project's outcome and hence to the actions of others, are influential because they modify their equilibrium behavior only if the others change theirs substantially.

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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 190.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 22 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:190
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Amil Dasgupta & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2004. "Does One Soros Make a Difference? A Theory of Currency Crises with Large and Small Traders," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 87-113, 01.
  2. David M. Frankel & Stephen Morris & Ady Pauzner, 2001. "Equilibrium Selection in Global Games with Strategic Complementarities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1336, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  4. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
  5. Bernardo Guimaraes & Stephen Morris, 2006. "Risk and Wealth in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001115, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Morris, S & Song Shin, H, 1996. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," Economics Papers 126, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  7. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
  8. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 1999. "Coordination Risk and the Price of Debt," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1241R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 2002.
  9. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-154416 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Dasgupta, Amil, 2007. "Coordination and delay in global games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 195-225, May.
  11. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  12. Itay Goldstein & Ady Pauzner, 2005. "Demand-Deposit Contracts and the Probability of Bank Runs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1293-1327, 06.
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