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

Exploring the effects of real effort in a weak-link experiment

  • Stefania Bortolotti


  • Giovanna Devetag


  • Andreas Ortmann


We report results from a weak-link – often also called minimum-effort – game experiment with multiple Pareto-ranked strict pure-strategy Nash equilibria, using a real-effort rather than a chosen-effort task: subjects have to sort and count coins and their payoff depends on the worst performance in the group. While in the initial rounds our subjects typically coordinate on inefficient outcomes, almost 80 percent of the groups are able to overcome coordination failure in the later rounds. Our results are in stark contrast to results typically reported in the literature.

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 Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series CEEL Working Papers with number 0901.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:0901
Contact details of provider: Postal: Via Inama 5, 38100 Trento
Phone: +39-461-882201
Fax: +39-461-882222
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. Giovanna Devetag & Andreas Ortmann, 2007. "When and why? A critical survey on coordination failure in the laboratory," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 331-344, September.
  2. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2010. "In Search Of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity-A Field and a Laboratory Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 817-837, 06.
  3. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin, 2001. "Coordination and information: recent experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 345-351, December.
  4. Jordi Brandts & David Cooper & Enrique Fatas, 2007. "Leadership and overcoming coordination failure with asymmetric costs," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 269-284, September.
  5. John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00259, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Devetag, Giovanna, 2005. "Precedent transfer in coordination games: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 227-232, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  9. Garcia-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzis, Nikolaos & Jaramillo-Gutierrez, Ainhoa, 2008. "Ultimatum salary bargaining with real effort," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 78-83, January.
  10. Bornstein, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Nagel, Rosmarie, 2002. "The effect of intergroup competition on group coordination: an experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-25, October.
  11. Colin Camerer & Teck Ho & Kuan Chong, 2003. "Models of Thinking, Learning, and Teaching in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 192-195, May.
  12. John List, 2006. "The behavioralist meets the market: Measuring social preferences and reputation effects in actual transactions," Natural Field Experiments 00300, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Giovanna Devetag & Andreas Ortmann, 2007. "Classic coordination failures revisited: the effects of deviation costs and loss avoidance," CEEL Working Papers 0703, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  14. Cachon, Gerard P & Camerer, Colin F, 1996. "Loss-Avoidance and Forward Induction in Experimental Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 165-94, February.
  15. Camerer, Colin F. & Ho, Teck H. & Chong, Juin-Kuan., 2000. "Sophisticated EWA Learning and Strategic Teaching in Repeated Games," Working Papers 1087, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  16. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521578967, October.
  17. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "A Change Would Do You Good . . . An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 606.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  18. 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.
  19. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2005. "An experimental study of costly coordination," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 349-364, May.
  20. 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.
  21. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "Observability and Overcoming Coordination Failure in Organizations. An Experimental Study," Working Papers 143, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  22. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521570176, October.
  23. Frans van Dijk & Joep Sonnemans & Frans van Winden, 2000. "Incentive Systems in a Real Effort Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 272, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. Ananish Chaudhuri & Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2009. "Talking Ourselves to Efficiency: Coordination in Inter-Generational Minimum Effort Games with Private, Almost Common and Common Knowledge of Advice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 91-122, 01.
  25. John Hamman & Scott Rick & Roberto Weber, 2007. "Solving coordination failure with “all-or-none” group-level incentives," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 285-303, September.
  26. Cooper David J, 2006. "Are Experienced Managers Experts at Overcoming Coordination Failure?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-52, May.
  27. 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.
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:trn:utwpce:0901. 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: (Marco Tecilla)

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.