IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Coordination in "Critical Mass" Games: An Experimental Study

  • Giovanna Devetag

In this paper we describe a tacit and simultaneous n-person coordination game in normal form, designed to reflect economic decisions characterized by "critical mass" and "increasing returns" phenomena. We then present some experimental studies on this game in which different information treatments are tested. Our results show that in the presence of full information about the players' entire distribution of choises, some cohorts are able to achieve efficiency in the absence of mutual communication. Efficient outcomes in some instances are achieved through a gradual and time-dependent dynamic of "collective hill-climbing" that creates convergence to the payoff-dominants equilibrium. On the contrary, when players only know their own payoffs, no convergence occurs and efficiency is low. Providing players with information about the median of previous period choises helps players converge to equilibria, but such equilibria are inefficient ones.The addition to the basic payoff function of increasing returns in the number of players choosing the same action seems to favor coordination on the efficient equilibrium.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2000/03.

in new window

Date of creation: 06 Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2000/03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Piazza dei Martiri della Liberta, 33, 56127 Pisa
Phone: +39-50-883343
Fax: +39-50-883344
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Keser, Claudia & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Berninghaus, Siegfried K., 1998. "Coordination and local interaction: experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 269-275, March.
  2. Nick Feltovich & John Duffy, 1999. "Does observation of others affect learning in strategic environments? An experimental study," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 131-152.
  3. Gary Bornstein & Uri Gneezy & Rosemarie Nagel, 1999. "The effect of intergroup competition on group coordination: An experimental study," Economics Working Papers 393, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Nick Feltovich, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests of Differences in Medians: Comparison of the Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney and Robust Rank-Order Tests," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 273-297, November.
  5. John B Van Huyck & Raymond C Battalio & Richard O Beil, 1997. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1225, David K. Levine.
  6. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  7. Duffy, John & Hopkins, Ed, 2005. "Learning, information, and sorting in market entry games: theory and evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 31-62, April.
  8. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  9. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
  10. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521570176.
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:3:p:885-910 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Charles A. Holt & Jacob K. Goeree, . "An Experimental Study of Costly Coordination," Virginia Economics Online Papers 326, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  13. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2001. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1402-1422, December.
  14. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin, 1998. "Time horizon and equilibrium selection in tacit coordination games: Experimental results," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 231-248, October.
  15. Battalio, Raymond & Samuelson, Larry & Van Huyck, John, 2001. "Optimization Incentives and Coordination Failure in Laboratory Stag Hunt Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 749-64, May.
  16. Granovetter, Mark & Soong, Roland, 1986. "Threshold models of interpersonal effects in consumer demand," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 83-99, March.
  17. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  18. Duffy, John & Feltovich, Nick, 2002. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? An Experimental Comparison of Observation and Cheap Talk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-27, April.
  19. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  20. Blume, Andreas & Ortmann, Andreas, 2007. "The effects of costless pre-play communication: Experimental evidence from games with Pareto-ranked equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 274-290, January.
  21. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521578967.
  22. Clark, Kenneth & Sefton, Martin, 2001. "Repetition and signalling: experimental evidence from games with efficient equilibria," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 357-362, March.
  23. Mitzkewitz,Michael & Nagel,Rosemarie, . "Envy,greed and anticipation in ultimatum games with incomplete information: An experimental study," Discussion Paper Serie B :181, University of Bonn, Germany.
  24. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  25. C. Monica Capra & Charles A. Holt, 1999. "Coordination," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 630-636, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2000/03. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.