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More Communication, Less Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Multi-stage Games


  • Andersson, Ola

    () (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Wengström, Erik

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)


It is well known that communication often serves as a facilitator for cooperation in static games. Yet, communication can serve entirely different purposes in dynamic settings as communication during the game may work as a means for renegotiation, potentially undermining the credibility of cooperative strategies. To explore this issue, this paper experimentally investigates cooperation and non-binding communication in a two-stage game. More specifically, two treatments are considered: one with only pre-play communication and one where subjects can also communicate intra-play between the stages of the game. The results highlight a nontrivial difference concerning the effects of pre-play communication between the two treatments. Pre-play communication only has a significant impact on cooperation when no intraplay communication is possible. The results suggest that the credibility of pre-play messages may depend crucially on future communication opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2007. "More Communication, Less Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Multi-stage Games," Working Papers 2007:4, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 24 Nov 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2007_004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation-proof equilibria in repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 206-217, February.
    2. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson & Jannie Lilja & Henrik Zetterqvist, 2009. "Trust and Truth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 252-276, January.
    3. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 327-360, December.
    4. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
    5. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
    6. Blume Andreas, 1994. "Intraplay Communication in Repeated Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 181-211, March.
    7. Douglas D. Davis & Charles A. Holt, 1999. "Equilibrium cooperation in two-stage games: Experimental evidence," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(1), pages 89-109.
    8. Douglas Bernheim, B. & Ray, Debraj, 1989. "Collective dynamic consistency in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 295-326, December.
    9. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harrington, Joseph E. & Hernan Gonzalez, Roberto & Kujal, Praveen, 2016. "The relative efficacy of price announcements and express communication for collusion: Experimental findings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 251-264.

    More about this item


    Renegotiation; Communication; Cooperation; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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