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Group behaviour in tacit coordination games with focal points – an experimental investigation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Games and Economic Behavior
Volume117
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)461-478
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date9/08/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper reports an experimental investigation of Schelling's theory of focal points that compares group and individual behaviour. We find that, when players' interests are perfectly aligned, groups more often choose the salient option and achieve higher coordination success than individuals. However, in games with conflicts of interest, groups do not always perform better than individuals, especially when the degree of conflict is substantial. We also find that groups outperform individuals when identifying the solution to the coordination problem requires some level of cognitive sophistication. Finally, players that successfully identify the solution to this game also achieve greater coordination rates than other players in games with a low degree of conflict. This result raises the question of whether finding the focal point is more a matter of logic rather than imagination as Schelling argued.