Go Figure: The Strategy of Nonliteral Speech
AbstractWe develop a model of figurative or indirect speech, which may convey a meaning that differs from its literal meaning. The model yields analytical conditions for speech to be figurative in equilibrium and delivers a number of comparative statics results. For instance, it predicts that the likelihood of figurative speech is greater if the benefit to the listener of correctly understanding the speaker is greater. We then apply the model to analyze particular forms of indirect speech, including terseness, irony, and veiled bribery. Interestingly, the model provides a novel argument for the effectiveness of laws that strictly punish attempted bribery. (JEL D83, K42, Z13)
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.
Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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