Experimental Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 627–649 | Cite as

Coordination with communication under oath

  • Nicolas Jacquemet
  • Stéphane Luchini
  • Jason F. Shogren
  • Adam Zylbersztejn
Original Paper


We focus on the design of an institutional device aimed to foster coordination through communication. We explore whether the social psychology theory of commitment, implemented via a truth-telling oath, can reduce coordination failure. Using a classic coordination game, we ask all players to sign voluntarily a truth-telling oath before playing the game with cheap talk communication. Three results emerge with commitment under oath: (1) coordination increased by nearly 50%; (2) senders’ messages were significantly more truthful and actions more efficient, and (3) receivers’ trust of messages increased.


Coordination game Cheap talk communication Oath 

JEL Classification

C72 D83 



This paper is a revised and extended version of GREQAM Working Paper No. 2011-49. We thank two reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version. We also thank Maria Bigoni, Juergen Bracht, Tore Ellingsen, Nobuyuki Hanaki, Alan Kirman, Ann-Kathrin Koessler, Fréderic Koessler, Rosemarie Nagel, Jens Prüfer, Sigrid Suetens, Jean-Marc Tallon, Antoine Terracol, Paolo Vanin, Marie Claire Villeval, Peyton Young and participants at several seminars and conferences for valuable comments, and Maxim Frolov for his assistance in running the experiments. We thank Ivan Ouss for his efficient research assistance. This project has received funding from the chair “Economie Publique et Développement Durable” (Aix-Marseille University), the Foundation Aix-Marseille University (research program “Mutual trust and commitment”), JSPS-ANR bilateral research grant BECOA (ANR-11-FRJA-0002), as well as the LABEX CORTEX (ANR-11-LABX-0042) of Université de Lyon, and LABEX OSE of the Paris School of Economics (ANR-10-LABX_93-01), both within the program “Investissements d’Avenir” (ANR-11-IDEX-007) operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR). NJ acknowledges the Institut Universitaire de France. A major part of this work was conducted when NJ was affiliated at Université de Lorraine (BETA), which support was much appreciated. SL thanks the MIT Sloan School of Management for its hospitality. JS thanks the University of Alaska-Anchorage for the support and hospitality. AZ is grateful to the Collège des Ecoles Doctorales de l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, the Alliance Program and the Columbia University Economics Department for their financial and scientific support.

Supplementary material

10683_2016_9508_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (127 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 127 KB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Jacquemet
    • 1
  • Stéphane Luchini
    • 2
  • Jason F. Shogren
    • 3
  • Adam Zylbersztejn
    • 4
  1. 1.Paris School of EconomicsUniversity Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre de la Vieille CharitéGREQAM-CNRSMarseille Cedex 02France
  3. 3.Department of Economics and FinanceUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  4. 4.GATE L-SE UMR 5824Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2EcullyFrance

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