Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 285–301 | Cite as

Individually selecting among conventions - an evolutionary and experimental analysis

  • Susanne BüchnerEmail author
  • Werner Güth
  • Luis M. Miller
Regular Article


Conventions can be narrowly interpreted as coordinated ways of equilibrium play, telling all players which of possibly several equilibria to play or more broadly how to choose in a game without imposing the equilibrium property. Since coordination often takes place before learning about the game, one has to coordinate on a prescribing principle. For the subclass of 2×2-bimatrix games with two strict equilibria, we analyze the evolutionary stability of various such principles. In our experiment, we allow participants to coordinate on principles before playing various games. Based on between-subjects treatments, participants do so being completely (they know neither their role nor the game parameters), partially (they know either their role or the game parameters) ignorant, or with no veil of ignorance (they know their role and the game parameters).


Coordination games Conventions Experimental economics Evolutionary stability 

JEL Classification

C72 C91 



We gratefully acknowledge the repeated advice by our referees as to how to revise the paper. Luis M. Miller also acknowledges the financial support received from the Spanish Ministry of Education (SEJ2006-00959/SOCI).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Büchner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Werner Güth
    • 2
  • Luis M. Miller
    • 3
  1. 1.International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain WorldJenaGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute of EconomicsStrategic Interaction GroupJenaGermany
  3. 3.Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, Nuffield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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