ESSAYS IN STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION DESIGN
This study examines several emerging topics in strategic communication and information design. The first chapter studies the role of verification in persuasion and its interaction with commitment in a Bayesian persuasion framework in which the sender is not fully bound by the committed plan. Both theoretically and experimentally, we demonstrate that making verification easier can significantly improve information transmission when commitment is low, but its effect is limited when commitment is high. However, empirically receivers do not respond as strongly as predicted by theory, which is consistent with base-rate neglect and conservatism. On the other hand, senders generally anticipate receivers' actions and best respond to the empirical behavior of receivers. We provide empirical implications for cases where verification is instrumental in improving information transmission and where it is not.
The second and third chapters are based on joint work with Dr. Collin Raymond. In the second chapter, we investigate how increasing the complexity of the message space in the presence of limited memory can reduce misrepresentation in strategic communication. We enrich a standard cheap talk game so that senders must communicate not just a payoff-relevant state, but also payoff-irrelevant attributes correlated with the state. We show that increasing the set of attributes that may need to be reported (i.e., the complexity of the game) improves the amount of information transmitted in equilibrium. Our findings demonstrate that the reporting of redundant information may induce equilibria that feature improved outcomes compared to simpler, more direct reporting systems, and point out the importance of complexity when trying to induce truthful information revelation.
In the third chapter, we analyze some extensions on the effect of complexity. We present experimental evidence which shows that too much of an increase in complexity leads to a reversal of those gains. Limited memory on the part of players, as well as the relative complexity faced by senders and receivers, drives these changes, and individuals experience cognitive costs when dealing with complex environments that they are willing to pay to avoid.
Krannert Doctoral Research Funds
- Doctor of Philosophy
- West Lafayette