März 2015

IZA DP No. 8953: Communication and Coordination in a Two-Stage Game

Revised version published in: Economic Inquiry, 2016, 54 (3), 1519–1540.

We study the impact of communication on behavior in a two-stage coordination game with asymmetric payoffs. We test experimentally whether individuals can avoid a head-to-head confrontation by means of coordinated strategies. In particular we analyze whether and how quickly a conflict-avoidance take-turn strategy can emerge. First, our results show that players learn to solve the conflict by choosing opposite options at both stages of the game. Second, many adopt a take-turn strategy to sustain coordination over time and alleviate the inequality induced by the asymmetry of payoffs. Third, communication increases the likelihood of conflict resolution even when a single pair member has the right to communicate.