The tension between efficiency and equilibrium is a central feature of economic systems. We examine this tradeoff in a network game with a unique Nash equilibrium in which agents can achieve a higher payoff by following a “collaborative norm.” Subjects establish and maintain a collaborative norm in the circle, but the norm weakens with the introduction of one hub connected to everyone in the wheel. In complex and asymmetric networks of 15 and 21 nodes, the norm disappears and subjects' play converges to Nash. We provide evidence that subjects base their decisions on their degree, rather than the overall network structure.

Supplementary data

You do not currently have access to this content.