Honesty, lemons, and symbolic signals
AbstractUnder asymmetric information, dishonest sellers lead to market unraveling in the lemons model. An additional cost of dishonesty is that language becomes cheap talk. We develop instead a model where people derive utility from actions (what they say), as well as from outcomes, so talk is costly. We find that the existence of honest agents that mean what they say is not enough to make trade more likely, unless a traceability condition that prevents arbitrage is met. When we introduce a continuum of misrepresentation cost types and qualities, full market unraveling is not possible and babbling equilibria are eliminated. More generally, costly talk is a special kind of signal, a symbolic signal that presupposes linguistic conventions, otherwise truth and falsehood, as well as misrepresentation costs, are undefined.
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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Universidad del CEMA in its series CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. with number 492.
Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Av. Córdoba 374, (C1054AAP) Capital Federal
Phone: (5411) 6314-3000
Fax: (5411) 4314-1654
Web page: http://www.cema.edu.ar/publicaciones/doc_trabajo.html
More information through EDIRC
asymmetric information; honesty; trust; symbols; signals; costly talk;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
- C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2012-07-23 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-GTH-2012-07-23 (Game Theory)
- NEP-MIC-2012-07-23 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-07-23 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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.:
- William Mitchell, 1984. "Schumpeter and public choice, Part I: Precursor to public choice?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 73-88, January.
- Stein, Ernesto H. & Streb, Jorge M., 2004.
"Elections and the timing of devaluations,"
Journal of International Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 119-145, May.
- Ernesto H. Stein & Jorge M. Streb, 1999. "Elections and the Timing of Devaluations," Research Department Publications 4164, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
- Ernesto H. Stein & Jorge M. Streb, 1999. "Elections and the Timing of Devaluations," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 140, Universidad del CEMA.
- Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
- Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2011. "Meaningful talk," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 443, Universidad del CEMA, revised Nov 2011.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Valeria Dowding).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.