IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Competition among Conventions


  • Joerg Oechssler

    (Columbia University)


A convention can be seen as the standard way of playing a game. If different conventions exist in various geographical, social or other entities (called "towns") and if there is some mobility between these towns, which conventions, if any, will emerge as the successful ones? A simple evolutionary process is suggested and it is shown that the process converges to a Nash equilibrium for all games satisfying weak acyclity or a condition called evolutionary stable with respect to pure strategies (ESPS). Further, if the process converges, it converges to an efficient convention for all games in which the Pareto optimal symmetric equilibria are strict. Hence, the paper presents an explanation for the endogenous evolution of efficiency. In contrast to most recent studies in evolutionary game theory, the conclusions do not rely on random "mutations". Instead, the driving force is the tendency of players to have increased interaction with member of their own group (viscosity).

Suggested Citation

  • Joerg Oechssler, 1993. "Competition among Conventions," Game Theory and Information 9312001, EconWPA, revised 04 Dec 1993.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9312001
    Note: Word for Windows 2.0 file, 21 pages, uuencoded after 'get'-ing it by email, 'uudecode' it. A Post Script file is available from the author.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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, January.
    2. Myerson, Roger B. & Pollock, Gregory B. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 1991. "Viscous population equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-109, February.
    3. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-1071, September.
    4. Robson, A.J., 1989. "Efficiency In Evolutionary Games: Darwin, Nash And Secret Handshake," Papers 89-22, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    5. Kandori Michihiro & Rob Rafael, 1995. "Evolution of Equilibria in the Long Run: A General Theory and Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 383-414, April.
    6. Aumann, Robert J. & Sorin, Sylvain, 1989. "Cooperation and bounded recall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-39, March.
    7. Van Huyck, John B. & Gillette, Ann B. & Battalio, Raymond C., 1992. "Credible assignments in coordination games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 606-626, October.
    8. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    9. Matsui, Akihiko, 1991. "Cheap-talk and cooperation in a society," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 245-258, August.
    10. Noldeke Georg & Samuelson Larry, 1993. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 425-454, July.
    11. Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Evolutionary stability and efficiency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 42(2-3), pages 301-312.
    12. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    13. Noldeke Georg & Samuelson Larry, 1993. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 425-454, July.
    14. Samuelson, Larry, 1991. "Limit evolutionarily stable strategies in two-player, normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 110-128, February.
    15. Akihiko Matsui, 1989. "Cheap Talk and Cooperation in the Society," Discussion Papers 848, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    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. Oechssler, Jorg, 1997. "Decentralization and the coordination problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-135, January.
    2. Simon Weidenholzer, 2010. "Coordination Games and Local Interactions: A Survey of the Game Theoretic Literature," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(4), pages 1-35, November.
    3. Oechssler, Jorg, 1997. "An Evolutionary Interpretation of Mixed-Strategy Equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 203-237, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


    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:wpa:wuwpga:9312001. 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: (EconWPA). 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.