Coordination and transfer

David J. Cooper, John Van Huyck

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We study the ability of subjects to transfer principles between related coordination games. Subjects play a class of order statistic coordination games closely related to the well-known minimum (or weak-link) and median games (Van Huyck et al. in Am Econ Rev 80:234–248, 1990, Q J Econ 106(3):885–910, 1991). When subjects play a random sequence of games with differing order statistics, play is less sensitive to the order statistic than when a fixed order statistic is used throughout. This is consistent with the prediction of a simple learning model with transfer. If subjects play a series of similar stag hunt games, play converges to the payoff dominant equilibrium when a convention emerges, replicating the main result of Rankin et al. (Games Econ Behav 32:315–337, 2000). When these subjects subsequently play a random sequence of order statistic games, play is shifted towards the payoff dominant equilibrium relative to subjects without previous experience. The data is consistent with subjects absorbing a general principle, play of the payoff dominant equilibrium, and applying it in a new related setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487–512
Number of pages26
JournalExperimental Economics
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • Coordination
  • Transfer
  • Learning

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