Collective intentionality in economics
Making Searle's theory of institutional facts relevant for game theory
Keywords:epistemic game theory, common understanding, collective intentionality, John Searle, institutions
Economic theories of team reasoning build on the assumption that agents can sometimes behave according to beliefs or preferences attributed to a group or a team. In this paper, I propose a different framework to introduce collective intentionality into game theory. I build on John Searle’s account, which makes collective intentionality constitutive of institutional facts. I show that as soon as one accepts that institutions (conventions, social norms, legal rules) are required to solve indetermination problems in a game, it is necessary to assume a form of collective intentionality that comes from what I call a common understanding of the situation among the players. This common understanding embodies the epistemic requirements for an institution to be a correlated equilibrium in a game. As a consequence, I question recent claims made by some economists according to which game-theoretic accounts of institutions do not need to assume collective intentionality.