Anders Poulsen, Axel Sonntag
Publication year: 2020

How does time pressure affect the power of focal points in coordination games? We experimentally examine the effects of varying time pressure in a coordination game with a label-salient focal equilibrium. We consider both a payoff symmetric (pure) coordination game and a payoff asymmetric battle of the sexes coordination game with conflict of interest. The data show that in the symmetric game the label-salient outcome is highly focal regardless of how much time subjects have to decide. In the asymmetric game, in contrast, higher time pressure makes it significantly more likely that coordination is on the label-salient outcome. Our findings suggest that the results from the existing literature on focal points in coordination games with conflict of interest, which did not control for explicit time constraints, may underestimate the power of focal points when decision makers are time-constrained.