Hiding an inconvenient truth: Lies and vagueness
AbstractWhen truth conflicts with efficiency, can verbal communication destroy efficiency? Or are lies or vagueness used to hide inconvenient truths? We consider a sequential 2-player public good game in which the leader has private information about the value of the public good. This value can be low, high, or intermediate, the latter case giving rise to a prisoners' dilemma. Without verbal communication, efficiency is achieved, with contributions for high or intermediate values. When verbal communication is added, the leader has an incentive to hide the precise truth when the value is intermediate. We show experimentally that, when communication must be precise, the leader frequently lies, preserving efficiency by exaggerating. When communication can be vague, the leader turns to vague messages when the value is intermediate. Thus, she implicitly reveals all values. Interestingly, efficiency is preserved, since the follower does not seem to realize that vague messages hide inconvenient truths.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.
Volume (Year): 73 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836
Communication Efficiency Lying Public goods;
Other versions of this item:
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987.
"Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
- Andreas Blume & Oliver Board, 2009.
381, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2009.
- Navin Kartik, 2008.
"Strategic Communication with Lying Costs,"
2008 Meeting Papers
350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- J. Farrell, 2010.
"Meaning and Credibility in Cheap Talk Games,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
533, David K. Levine.
- Joseph Farrell., 1986. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Economics Working Papers 8609, University of California at Berkeley.
- Farrell, Joseph, 1986. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4968n3fz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Cai, Hongbin & Wang, Joseph Tao-Yi, 2006. "Overcommunication in strategic information transmission games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 7-36, July.
- E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998.
"On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
445, David K. Levine.
- Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Marc Vorsatz, 2007.
"Enjoy the Silence: An Experiment on Truth-Telling,"
ESE Discussion Papers
155, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Blume, Andreas, et al, 1998. "Experimental Evidence on the Evolution of Meaning of Messages in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1323-40, December.
- Hermalin, Benjamin E, 1998.
"Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1188-1206, December.
- Benjamin E. Hermalin, 1997. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," Microeconomics 9612002, EconWPA.
- Ben Hermalin, 1996. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," Working Papers _006, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
- Joseph Farrell, 1985. "Credible Neologisms in Games of Communication," Working papers 386, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Blume, A. & DeJong, D.V. & Kim, Y-G. & Sprinkle, G., 1997.
"Evolution of Communication With Partial Common Interest,"
1997-115, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Blume, Andreas & DeJong, Douglas V. & Kim, Yong-Gwan & Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 2001. "Evolution of Communication with Partial Common Interest," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 79-120, October.
- Blume, Andreas & DeJong, Douglas V. & Kim, Yong-Gwan & Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 1997. "Evolution of Communication with Partial Common Interest," Working Papers 97-18, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
- Forsythe, Robert & Lundholm, Russell & Rietz, Thomas, 1999. "Cheap Talk, Fraud, and Adverse Selection in Financial Markets: Some Experimental Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 481-518.
- Stefano Demichelis & Jörgen Weibull, 2009.
"Language, meaning and games A model of communication, coordination and evolution,"
- Stefano Demichelis & Jorgen W. Weibull, 2008. "Language, Meaning, and Games: A Model of Communication, Coordination, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1292-1311, September.
- Stefano Demichelis & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2007. "Language, meaning and games: a model of communication, coordination and evolution," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 61, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
- Ying Chen & Navin Kartik & Joel Sobel, 2008. "Selecting Cheap-Talk Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 117-136, 01.
- Matthias Sutter, 2007.
"Deception through telling the truth?! Experimental evidence from individuals and teams,"
2007-26, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
- Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, 01.
- Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
- Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Which Words Bond? An Experiment on Signaling in a Public Good Game (replaced by TILEC DP 2011-055)," Discussion Paper 2010-016, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
- Potters, J.J.M. & Sefton, M. & Vesterlund, L., 2007.
"Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: An experimental study,"
Open Access publications from Tilburg University
urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-302954, Tilburg University.
- Jan Potters & Martin Sefton & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: an experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 169-182, October.
- Sjaak Hurkens & Navin Kartik, 2009. "Would I lie to you? On social preferences and lying aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 180-192, June.
- Board, Oliver J. & Blume, Andreas & Kawamura, Kohei, 2007.
Econometric Society, vol. 2(4), December.
- Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
- Andreas Blume, 1996.
"Communication, Risk and Efficiency in Games,"
Game Theory and Information
- Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
- Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 81-92, May.
- Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you do? (replaces TILEC DP 2010-016)," Discussion Paper 2011-055, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
- Hoffmann, Mareike & Lauer, Thomas & Rockenbach, Bettina, 2013. "The royal lie," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 305-313.
- Adrian de Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Credible Deviations and ACDC," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-153/1, Tinbergen Institute.
- Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Lightle, John P., 2013. "Harmful lie aversion and lie discovery in noisy expert advice games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 347-362.
- Agranov, Marina & Schotter, Andrew, 2013. "Language and government coordination: An experimental study of communication in the announcement game," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 26-39.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.