Experimental Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 924–945 | Cite as

The emergence of language differences in artificial codes

Original Paper


The paper studies how common codes of artificial language in communication are developed in the laboratory. We find that codes emerging from an environment with more variable spatial positions tend to use a limited set of symbols to represent positions, whereas codes emerging from an environment with more variable geometric shapes tend to discriminate among shapes. The paper also experimentally shows that “language” affects the way its “speakers” share the view about a novel figure.


Communication games Coordination Economics of language 

JEL Classification

C72 C92 Z1 



We are grateful to the editor and two anonymous referees for thoughtful and constructive comments. We would also like to thank Te Bao, Andreas Blume, Keith Chen, Liang Guo, Wei Huang, Jaimie Lien, Eric van Damme, Songfa Zhong, and participants in many seminars and conferences for helpful comments. We thank financial support from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The paper builds on an earlier version of the working paper titled “An Economic Investigation of Linguistic Differences” as a joint effort with Wooyoung Lim, and still reflects our earlier collaboration.


Funding was provided by Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (start-up grant).

Supplementary material

10683_2017_9518_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (513 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 513 KB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EconomicsNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyClear Water BayHong Kong

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