Priming anti-coordination with social expectations

Pietro Guarnieri (University of Pisa)
Lorenzo Spadoni (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio)


We investigate experimentally the effects of priming decisions in an anti-coordination game (the Farol Bar Game) with social expectations (i.e., empirical expectations and normative expectations). Specifically, we run an online experiment involving two interdependent studies: in Study 1, we elicit (incentivized) social expectations and we make subjects play the El Farol Bar Game afterward; in Study 2, subjects play two different rounds of the El Farol Bar Game, receiving a prime with different social expectations from Study 1 before each round - except for the first round of the Baseline treatment where no priming is implemented. We find that information about social expectations can make people more willing to adopt the more cautious behaviour (i.e. staying home), while such information cannot increase the share of people risking a higher payoff (i.e. going out). Further, our findings suggest that in the second round, when primed with a different social expectation, subjects tend to switch decision with respect to the first one, but the share of switching do not vary significantly across conditions.

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