A Road to Efficiency Through Communication and Commitment

We examine the efficiency gains of introducing a pre-play phase—allowing agents to communicate their intentions and commit to them—in a game with Pareto ranked equilibria. We focus on a game in which a Pareto inferior equilibrium is usually chosen. We first derive the theoretical conditions under which the efficient equilibrium is unique in the extended game and then we test our theory in the lab. The introduction of the pre-play revision phase increases the coordination on the Pareto dominant equilibrium, restoring over 50% of the efficiency lost in the standard setting. The results shed new light on cheap talk and reveal that a combination of communication and commitment leads to significantly higher welfare.

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