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Setting the Anchor: Price Competition, Level-n Theory and Communication

This paper analyzes communication from the viewpoint of the level-n theory of bounded rationality. It examines if communication can be understood by the effect it has on high-level types’ beliefs about the actions of simpleminded level-0 players. We present experimental evidence from a slightly perturbed price competition game designed to test this interpretation. The main finding is that communication affects subjects in a way that seems compatible with the level-n model, indicating that people lie in order to fool other players that they believe do less thinking. Moreover, the results indicate that the predictive power of the level-n model does crucially depend on the possibility for high level players to form homogenous beliefs about the behavior of the level-0 players.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007:6.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 20 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economics Bulletin, 2008, pages 1-15.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2007_006
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en

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  1. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  2. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  3. Antoni Bosch-Domenech & Jose G. Montalvo & Rosemarie Nagel & Albert Satorra, 2004. "Finite Mixture Analysis of Beauty-Contest Data from Multiple Samples," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000035, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2006. "Fatal Attraction: Focality, Naivete, and Sophistication in Experimental Hide-and-Seek Games," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001176, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Cason, Timothy N., 1995. "Cheap talk price signaling in laboratory markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 183-204, June.
  6. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  7. Miettinen, Topi, 2013. "Promises and conventions – An approach to pre-play agreements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 68-84.
  8. Ellingsen, Tore & Östling, Robert, 2006. "Organizational Structure as the Channeling of Boundedly Rational Pre-play Communication," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 634, Stockholm School of Economics.
  9. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
  10. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
  11. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
  12. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & José Garcia Montalvo & Rosemarie Nagel & Albert Satorra, 2004. "Finite mixture analysis of beauty-contest data using generalised beta distributions," Economics Working Papers 737, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2010.
  13. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
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