Sleep Restriction Increases Coordination Failure

33 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

See all articles by Marco Castillo

Marco Castillo

Texas A&M University

David L. Dickinson

Appalachian State University


When group outcomes depend on minimal effort (e.g., disease containment, work teams, or indigenous hunt success), a classic coordination problem exists. Using a well-established paradigm, we examine how a common cognitive state (insufficient sleep) impacts coordination outcomes. Our data indicate that insufficient sleep increases coordination failure costs, which suggests that the sleep or, more generally, cognitive composition of a group might determine its ability to escape from a trap of costly miscoordination and wasted cooperative efforts. These findings are first evidence of the potentially large externality of a commonly experienced biological state (insufficient sleep) that has infiltrated many societies.

Keywords: coordination games, sleep, cooperative dilemma

JEL Classification: C91, D91

Suggested Citation

Castillo, Marco and Dickinson, David L., Sleep Restriction Increases Coordination Failure. Available at SSRN: or

Marco Castillo (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States


David L. Dickinson

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States
1-828-262-2117 (Phone)
1-828-262-6105 (Fax)

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