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On the role of non-equilibrium focal points as coordination devices

Considering a pure coordination game with a large number of equivalent equilibria, we argue, first, that a focal point that is itself not a Nash equilibrium and is Pareto dominated by all Nash equilibria, may attract the players' choices. Second, we argue that such a non-equilibrium focal point may act as an equilibrium selection device that the players use to coordinate on a closely related small subset of Nash equilibria. We present theoretical as well as experimental support for these two new roles of focal points as coordination devices.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1064.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1064
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Christoph Kuzmics, 2008. "Hidden Symmetries and Focal Points," TWI Research Paper Series 35, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
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  7. Nicolas Bardsley & Judith Mehta & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2006. "The Nature of Salience Revisited: Cognitive Hierarchy Theory versus Team Reasoning," Discussion Papers 2006-17, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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  9. Sugden, Robert & Zamarron, Ignacio E., 2006. "Finding the key: The riddle of focal points," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 609-621, October.
  10. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "The evolution of focal points," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 21-42, April.
  11. Dietmar Fehr & Frank Heinemann & Aniol Llorente-Saguer, 2013. "The power of sunspots: an experimental analysis," Working Papers 13-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Nicholas Bardsley & Judith Mehta & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2010. "Explaining Focal Points: Cognitive Hierarchy Theory "versus" Team Reasoning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 40-79, 03.
  13. Christoph Kuzmics & Thomas Palfrey & Brian Rogers, 2012. "Symmetric play in repeated allocation games," Discussion Papers 1551, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1995. "Case-Based Decision Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 605-39, August.
  15. 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.
  16. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  17. Andreas Blume & Uri Gneezy, 1998. "An Experimental Investigation of Optimal Learning in Coordination Games," CIG Working Papers FS IV 98-12, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  18. Glenn Harrison, 2005. "Field experiments and control," Artefactual Field Experiments 00057, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
  20. Bacharach, Michael & Bernasconi, Michele, 1997. "The Variable Frame Theory of Focal Points: An Experimental Study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-45, April.
  21. Fryer Roland & Jackson Matthew O., 2008. "A Categorical Model of Cognition and Biased Decision Making," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-44, February.
  22. Teck-Hua Ho & Keith Weigelt, 1996. "Task Complexity, Equilibrium Selection, and Learning: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(5), pages 659-679, May.
  23. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  24. Vincent P. Crawford & Uri Gneezy & Yuval Rottenstreich, 2008. "The Power of Focal Points Is Limited: Even Minute Payoff Asymmetry May Yield Large Coordination Failures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1443-58, September.
  25. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1991. "Strategic Uncertainty, Equilibrium Selection, and Coordination Failure in Average Opinion Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 885-910, August.
  26. Vincent P Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Level-k Auctions: Can a Non-Equilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000001005, UCLA Department of Economics.
  27. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  28. Brandts Jordi & Macleod W. Bentley, 1995. "Equilibrium Selection in Experimental Games with Recommended Play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 36-63, October.
  29. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  30. Maarten Janssen, 2001. "Rationalizing Focal Points," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-148, March.
  31. Mehta, Judith & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1994. "The Nature of Salience: An Experimental Investigation of Pure Coordination Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 658-73, June.
  32. Cooper, Russell, et al, 1990. "Selection Criteria in Coordination Games: Some Experimental Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 218-33, March.
  33. 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.
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