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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 2 (May 2012)

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Ignorance Is Bliss: An Experimental Study of the Use of Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Coordination Games with Asymmetric Payoffs

Article Citation

Agranov, Marina, and Andrew Schotter. 2012. "Ignorance Is Bliss: An Experimental Study of the Use of Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Coordination Games with Asymmetric Payoffs." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 4(2): 77-103.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.2.77

Abstract

We consider a game where one player, the Announcer, has to communicate the value of a payoff relevant state of the world to a set of players who play a coordination game with multiple equilibria. While the Announcer and the players agree that coordination is desirable, since the payoffs of the players at the equilibria are unequal, they disagree as to which equilibrium is best. We demonstrate experimentally that in such coordination games, in order to mask the asymmetry of equilibrium payoffs, it may be advantageous for a utilitarian benevolent Announcer to communicate in an ambiguous or vague manner. (JEL C71, D81, D83)

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Authors

Agranov, Marina (CA Institute of Technology)
Schotter, Andrew (NYU)

JEL Classifications

C71: Cooperative Games
D81: Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief

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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics


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