IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Communication, Timing, and Common Learning


  • Jakub Steiner
  • Colin Stewart


We study the effect of stochastically delayed communication on common knowledge acquisition (common learning). If messages do not report dispatch times, communication prevents common learning under general conditions even if common knowledge is acquired without communication. If messages report dispatch times, communication can destroy common learning under more restrictive conditions. The failure of common learning in the two cases is based on divgerent infection arguments. Communication can destroy common learning even if it ends in finite time, or if agents communicate all of their information. We also identify conditions under which common learning is preserved in the presence of communication.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakub Steiner & Colin Stewart, 2010. "Communication, Timing, and Common Learning," Discussion Papers 1484, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1484

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin W. Cripps & Jeffrey C. Ely & George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2008. "Common Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 909-933, July.
    2. Parikh, Rohit & Krasucki, Paul, 1990. "Communication, consensus, and knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 178-189, October.
    3. Morris Stephen E, 2002. "Faulty Communication: Some Variations on the Electronic Mail Game," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-26, January.
    4. Geanakoplos, John D. & Polemarchakis, Heraklis M., 1982. "We can't disagree forever," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 192-200, October.
    5. Heifetz, Aviad, 1996. "Comment on Consensus without Common Knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 273-277, July.
    6. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
    7. Koessler, Frederic, 2001. "Common knowledge and consensus with noisy communication," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 139-159, September.
    8. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Coordinated Action in the Electronic Mail Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 6-30, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Jiménez-Martínez, 2015. "A model of belief influence in large social networks," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(1), pages 21-59, May.
    2. Antonio Jiménez-Martínez, 2012. "Consensus in Communication Networks under Bayesian Updating," Working papers DTE 529, CIDE, División de Economía.
    3. Martin Cripps & Jeffrey Ely & George Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2013. "Common learning with intertemporal dependence," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 42(1), pages 55-98, February.
    4. Rodrigues-Neto, José Alvaro, 2012. "The cycles approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 207-211.
    5. Morris, Stephen, 2014. "Coordination, timing and common knowledge," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 306-314.
    6. Grafenhofer, Dominik & Kuhle, Wolfgang, 2016. "Observing each other’s observations in a Bayesian coordination game," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 10-17.

    More about this item


    communication; common learning; approximate common knowledge;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1484. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fran Walker). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.