What Are Coordinated Strategies in Game Theory?


Martha Robinson

Game theory is a mathematical tool used to study strategic interactions between different players. In game theory, coordination refers to the process of players choosing strategies that are compatible with each other’s choices. Coordinated strategies are essential in game theory as they help players achieve better outcomes collectively.

What are Coordinated Strategies?

Coordinated strategies, in simple terms, refer to the strategies chosen by individuals or groups of players that are in sync with each other. In other words, coordinated strategies are those that lead to mutually beneficial outcomes for all the players involved.

For example: Consider two drivers trying to navigate through a busy intersection. To avoid collisions, it is necessary for both drivers to coordinate and follow traffic rules such as stopping at a red light and yielding at stop signs.

The Importance of Coordinated Strategies

Coordinated strategies play a crucial role in game theory as they can significantly influence the outcome of strategic interactions between multiple players. When all the players coordinate their decisions, they can achieve better outcomes than when they act independently.

For example: Consider a scenario where two companies are deciding whether or not to enter into a price war. If both companies decide not to engage in price competition, they can avoid financial losses and maintain market stability.

Types of Coordinated Strategies

There are various types of coordinated strategies used in game theory, including:

1. Focal Points

Focal points refer to specific outcomes that players consider more likely than others. These outcomes may be driven by social conventions or shared experiences among the players.

For example: Two friends trying to meet at a specific location may decide on a common landmark like “the big red building” as their focal point for coordination.

2. Pre-Play Communication

Pre-play communication refers to the process of players exchanging information before the start of a game. This communication helps players coordinate their strategies and achieve better outcomes.

For example: Two countries negotiating a trade deal may exchange information about their respective economic goals and constraints to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

3. Tit-for-Tat

Tit-for-Tat is a strategy where each player reciprocates the other player’s previous move. This strategy is often used in repeated games where players have a history of interaction.

For example: In a game of “Prisoner’s Dilemma,” if both players cooperate in the first round, they are likely to maintain cooperation in subsequent rounds.

The Bottom Line

Coordinated strategies are essential in game theory as they help players achieve better outcomes collectively. Effective coordination requires an understanding of the different types of coordinated strategies and an ability to communicate effectively with other players. By choosing coordinated strategies, players can work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes that would not be possible otherwise.