Believe it or Not: Experimental Evidence on Sunspot Equilibria with Social Networks
33 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 2019
Models with sunspot equilibria have long been a topic of interest among economists. It then becomes an interesting question to ask whether there is empirical support for their existence. One approach to answer this question is through lab experiments. Such equilibria have been successfully reproduced in the lab, but little is known about their determinants and, most importantly, about their convergence dynamics: when, and how, do individuals assign a coordination role to signals which are publicly known to have no fundamental value? In order to answer this question, we run a laboratory experiment in which individuals are connected through a network, and each of them directly observes the actions of her neighbors as well as aggregated information. By manipulating both the type of information available and the structure of the network, we study the extent to which players are able to converge, and how convergence happens over time. We show that general information about other players' behavior hinders coordination, while information specifically related to the sunspot enhances it.
Keywords: sunspot equilibrium, laboratory experiment, coordination, social networks, communication
JEL Classification: C92, D81, D85
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation