Essays on Salience in Coordination Games: Gender, Punishment and Communication

Bett, Zoe (2015) Essays on Salience in Coordination Games: Gender, Punishment and Communication. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The issue of coordination is one that has received significant attention in the experimental literature. In this thesis I delve deeper into this by combining and exploring a number of issues from the literature in economics and the social sciences in the context of coordination games. More specifically in all three chapters a common theme of the examination of the efficiency-equality trade off in coordination games prevails. In the first chapter I take inspiration from Holm’s (2000) paper ''Gender Based Focal Points'' and look further into aspects of both the equity-efficiency trade off in coordination games and gender information. In the second chapter we combine elements of the coordination literature with the literature on the effects of punishment: Most previous investigations of punishment have concentrated on the effects of punishment when free riding is a possibility (for example Fehr & Gächter, 2000, Abbink et al., 2010) and here we are able to report results from an experiment where free riding is not a possibility. In the third chapter we investigate the effects of communication in coordination games. We take our initial inspiration from Cooper et al. (1990) and Farrell (1987) and expand on these papers by examining the effects of rich and free form communication between subjects and also expanding the type of games used in the experiment.
We find a number of interesting results which will be described in more detail with this thesis. In chapter one we find that an inefficient compromise very quickly loses its appeal to subjects as its inefficiency increases. We also find that unisex pairings are more successful in term of expected payoffs from coordination games as compared to mixed gender pairings. In chapter two we find that, whilst gender information and punishment do not tend to affect behaviour in isolation, the two treatment variables combined do lead to observed behavioural changes. We also find gender differences in punishment behaviours with males becoming more aggressive in punishment when playing against a male and males punishing more aggressively than females. In chapter three we find that payoff structure is highly relevant in how the availability of communication affects choices in the game. Through our novel experimental design we show that subjects will use an equitable split of earnings as a focal point for coordination rather than out of an intrinsic preference for an equitable split of earnings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 13:12
Last Modified: 03 May 2016 13:12


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