When and Why? A Critical Survey on Coordination Failure in the Laboratory

44 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2006 Last revised: 15 May 2008

See all articles by Giovanna Devetag

Giovanna Devetag

Luiss Guido Carli

Andreas Ortmann

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Abstract

Coordination games with Pareto-ranked equilibria have attracted major theoretical attention over the past two decades. Two early path-breaking sets of experimental studies were widely interpreted as suggesting that coordination failure is a common phenomenon in the laboratory. We identify the major determinants that seem to affect the incidence, and/or emergence, of coordination failure in the lab and review critically the existing experimental studies on coordination games with Pareto-ranked equilibria since that early evidence emerged. We conclude that coordination failure is likely to be the exception rather than the rule, both in the lab and outside of it.

Keywords: coordination games, Pareto-ranked equilibria, payoff-asymmetric equilibria, stag-hunt games, optimization incentives, robustness, coordination, coordination failure

JEL Classification: C72, C92

Suggested Citation

Devetag, Giovanna and Ortmann, Andreas, When and Why? A Critical Survey on Coordination Failure in the Laboratory. Devetag, Giovanna, and Ortmann, Andreas, WHEN AND WHY? A CRITICAL SURVEY ON COORINATION FAILURE IN THE LABRATORY, CERGE-EI Working Paper Series, Vol. 302, pp. 1-39, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=924186 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.924186

Giovanna Devetag (Contact Author)

Luiss Guido Carli ( email )

Via Salvini 2
Roma, 00197
Italy

Andreas Ortmann

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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