Evolutionary Insights on the Willingness to Communicate

Sjaak Hurkens and Karl H. Schlag

Abstract: While in previous models of pre-play communication players are forced to communicate, we investigate what happens if players can choose not to
participate in this cheap talk. Outcomes are predicted by analyzing evolutionary stability in a population of a priori identical players. If the game following the communication rewards players who choose the same action then an efficient outcome is only guaranteed when participation in the pre-play communication is voluntary. If however players aim to coordinate on choosing different actions in the underlying game and there are sufficiently many messages then the highest payoff is selected when players are forced to talk to each other before playing the game.

Key words:  Evolutionarily stable sets, pure coordination, cheap talk.

Classification Numbers: C72, C79.

International Journal of Game Theory