Semantics and game theory offer modern approaches to very old problems.1 David Lewis introduced game theoretic concepts into the study of language in his examination of conventions.2 In this chapter we study the language of a specific sort of conventions: statistical estimators. Such estimators have the important property of being both well-defined mathematical objects and devices that form the basis of factual claims asserted and, perhaps, believed by rational agents.3 The convention we analyze allows econometric reporting to proceed on the basis of trust.4 In contrast with Lewis, we shall demonstrate that such a convention is conducive to conflict rather than co-ordination.

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Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Science. This chapter first appeared in Game Theory and Linguistic Meaning.

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