Experimental Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 547–570 | Cite as

The dark side of friendship: ‘envy’

  • Ramón Cobo-ReyesEmail author
  • Natalia Jiménez


This paper studies the effect of social relations on convergence to the efficient equilibrium in 2×2 coordination games from an experimental perspective. We employ a 2×2 factorial design in which we explore two different games with asymmetric payoffs and two matching protocols: “friends” versus “strangers”. In the first game, payoffs by the worse-off player are the same in the two equilibria, whereas in the second game, this player will receive lower payoffs in the efficient equilibrium. Surprisingly, the results show that “strangers” coordinate more frequently in the efficient equilibrium than “friends” in both games. Network measures such as in-degree, out-degree and betweenness are all positively correlated with playing the strategy which leads to the efficient outcome but clustering is not. In addition, ‘envy’ explains no convergence to the efficient outcome.


Coordination Efficiency ‘Envy’ Experiments Friendship Social networks 

JEL Classification

A14 C72 C92 D63 



We are very grateful to Gary Charness for his useful comments at the earliest stages of this project. We would like to thank Antoni Bosch, Pablo Brañas-Garza, Catherine Eckel, Maria Paz Espinosa, Rosie Nagel, Giovanni Ponti and Pedro Rey-Biel for all their helpful comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank Laura Crespo, Teresa García, Elena Martinez, Juan Mora, Ana Moro and Carlos Sánchez for their irreplaceable help in the econometrics. Financial support from the Generalitat Valenciana GV 06/275, the Spanish Ministry SEJ2007-62081/ECON and the Junta de Andalucia SEJ-2547 is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

10683_2012_9313_MOESM1_ESM.doc (51 kb)
(DOC 51 kB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.University of AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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