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Language, meaning and games A model of communication, coordination and evolution

  • Stefano Demichelis

    (University of Pavia - Department of Mathematics)

  • Jörgen Weibull

    (SSE - Department of Economics - Stockholm School of Economics, Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - Polytechnique - X - CNRS)

Language is arguably a powerful coordination device in real-life interactions. We here develop a game-theoretic model of pre-play communication that generalizes the cheap-talk approach by way of introducing a meaning correspondence between messages and actions, and postulating two axioms met by natural languages. Deviations from this correspondence are called dishonest and players have a lexicographic preference for honesty, second to material payoffs. The model is first applied to two-sided preplay communication in finite and symmetric two-player games and we establish that, in generic and symmetric n × n - coordination games, a Nash equilibrium component in such a lexicographic communication game is evolutionarily stable if and only if it results in the unique Pareto efficient outcome of the underlying game. We extend the approach to one-sided communication in finite, not necessarily symmetric, two-player games.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00354224
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