From Bertrand Crettez and Régis Deloche, forthcoming in JEBO:
Numerous papers show how game theory can improve our understanding of literature. There is no paper, however, using experimental economics to arrive at a new understanding of a play. We fill this gap by using experimental evidence to compare the last two versions of Molière’s Tartuffe. In the final version of the play, there are two stag hunt games, one without pre-game communication and one with. In the first game players fail to coordinate to the efficient equilibrium but in the second one they do, which is consistent with experimental evidence. In the penultimate version of the play, there is pre-game communication in the first stag hunt game but players fail to coordinate to the efficient equilibrium, which is not consistent with experimental evidence. By removing the pre-game communication from the first game, Molière adapted his play as if he had been a student of modern behavioral game theory.