Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Behavioural economics

Occasional errors can benefit coordination

The chances of solving a problem that involves coordination between people are increased by introducing robotic players that sometimes make mistakes. This finding has implications for real-world coordination problems. See Letter p.370

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Noise helps to resolve coordination problems.


  1. Turchin, P. Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth (Beresta, 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Shirado, H. & Christakis, N. A. Nature 545, 370–374 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Kearns, M., Suri, S. & Montfort, N. Science 313, 824–827 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kandori, M., Mailath, G. J. & Rob, R. Econometrica 61, 29–56 (1993).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  5. Young, H. P. Individual Strategy and Social Structure: An Evolutionary Theory of Institutions (Princeton Univ. Press, 1998).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bowles, S. Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution (Princeton Univ. Press, 2003).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  7. Weidenholzer, S. Games 1, 551–585 (2010).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  8. Harsanyi, J. C. & Selten, R. A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games (MIT Press, 1988).

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  9. Van Huyck, J. B., Battalio, R. C. & Beil, R. O. Am. Econ. Rev. 80, 234–248 (1990).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Crawford, V. P. Econometrica 63, 103–143 (1995).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  11. Camerer, C. F. Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction (Princeton Univ. Press, 2003).

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  12. Cassar, A. Games Econ. Behav. 58, 209–230 (2007).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  13. Buskens, V. & Snijders, C. Dynam. Games Appl. 6, 477–494 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Simon Gächter.

Related audio

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Behavioural economics: Visible inequality breeds more inequality

Behavioural economics: Corruption corrupts

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gächter, S. Occasional errors can benefit coordination. Nature 545, 297–298 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing