COORDINATING COLLECTIVE RESISTANCE THROUGH COMMUNICATION AND REPEATED INTERACTION
Timothy N Cason
This paper presents a laboratory collective resistance (CR) game to study how different forms of repeated interactions, with and without communication, can help coordinate subordinatesâ€™ collective resistance to a â€œdivide-and-conquerâ€ transgression against their personal interests. In the one-shot CR game, a firstâ€“mover (the â€œleaderâ€) decides whether to transgress against two responders. Successful transgression increases the payoff of the leader at the expense of the victim(s) of transgression. The two responders then simultaneously decide whether to challenge the leader. The subordinates face a coordination problem in that their challenge against the leaderâ€™s transgression will only succeed if both of them incur the cost to do so. The outcome without transgression can occur in equilibrium with standard money-maximizing preferences with repeated interactions, but this outcome is not an equilibrium with standard preferences when adding non-binding subordinate â€œcheap talkâ€ communication in the one-shot game. Nevertheless, we find that communication (in the one-shot game) is at least as effective as repetition (with no communication) in reducing the transgression rate. Moreover, communication is better than repetition in coordinating resistance, because it makes it easier for subordinates to identify others who have social preferences and are willing to incur the cost to punish a violation of social norms.
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