Experimental Economics

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 331–344

When and why? A critical survey on coordination failure in the laboratory


DOI: 10.1007/s10683-007-9178-9

Cite this article as:
Devetag, G. & Ortmann, A. Exp Econ (2007) 10: 331. doi:10.1007/s10683-007-9178-9


Coordination games with Pareto-ranked equilibria have attracted major attention over the past two decades. Two early path-breaking sets of experimental studies were widely interpreted as suggesting that coordination failure is a common phenomenon in the laboratory. We identify the major determinants that seem to affect the incidence, and/or emergence, of coordination failure in the lab and review critically the existing experimental studies on coordination games with Pareto-ranked equilibria since that early evidence emerged. We conclude that there are many ways to engineer coordination successes.


Coordination gamesPareto-ranked equilibriaPayoff-asymmetric equilibriaStag-hunt gamesOptimization incentivesRobustnessCoordinationCoordination failure



Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Law and ManagementUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.CERGE-EICharles University Prague and Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPragueCzech Republic