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Conventions for Selecting Among Conventions - An Evolutionary and Experimental Analysis

  • Susanne Büchner


  • Werner Güth


  • Luis M. Miller

Conventions can be narrowly interpreted as coordinated ways of equilibrium play, i.e., a specific convention tells all players in a game with multiple strict equilibria which equilibrium to play. In our view, coordination often takes place before learning about the games. Thus, one has to coordinate on a prescribing principle of equilibrium selection. For the subclass of 2x2-bimatrix games with two strict equilibria we analyze the evolutionary stability of various such principles. In our experiment, we allow participants to first coordinate before playing various games. Based on between-subjects treatments, participants do this behind a complete (they know neither their role nor the game parameters), a partial (they know either their role or the game parameters) veil of ignorance, or with no ignorance (they know their role and the game parameters).

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2005-21.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2005-21
Note: updated 06/2007
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  1. Van Huyck, John B. & Cook, Joseph P. & Battalio, Raymond C., 1997. "Adaptive behavior and coordination failure," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 483-503, April.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:1:p:165-94 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Straub, Paul G., 1995. "Risk dominance and coordination failures in static games," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 339-363.
  5. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-48, March.
  6. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
  7. Cooper, Russell & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1993. "Forward Induction in the Battle-of-the-Sexes Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1303-16, December.
  8. Lorenzo Sacconi & Stefano Moretti, 2002. "Fuzzy norms, default reasoning and equilibrium selection in games under unforeseen contingencies and incomplete knowledge," LIUC Papers in Ethics, Law and Economics 104, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
  9. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "Loss avoidance as selection principle: evidence from simple stag-hunt games," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp245, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  10. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  11. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
  12. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:3:p:885-910 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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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