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Information Gatekeepers: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Brocas, Isabelle
  • Carrillo, Juan D
  • Palfrey, Thomas R
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    Abstract

    We consider a model where two adversaries can spend resources in acquiring public information about the unknown state of the world in order to influence the choice of a decision maker. We characterize the sampling strategies of the adversaries in the equilibrium of the game. We show that, as the cost of information acquisition for one adversary increases, that person collects less evidence whereas the other adversary collects more evidence. We then test the results in a controlled laboratory setting. The behavior of subjects is close to the theoretical predictions. Mistakes are relatively infrequent (15%). They occur in both directions, with more over-sampling (39%) than under-sampling (8%). The main difference with the theory is the smooth decline in sampling around the theoretical equilibrium. Comparative statics are also consistent with the theory, with adversaries sampling more when their own cost is low and when the other adversary's cost is high. Finally, there is little evidence of learning over the 40 matches of the experiment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7457.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7457

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    Related research

    Keywords: adversarial system; experiment; information acquisition; search;

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    1. Robert Forsythe & R. Mark Isaac & Thomas R. Palfrey, 1989. "Theories and Tests of "Blind Bidding" in Sealed-Bid Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 214-238, Summer.
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    Cited by:
    1. Matthew Gentzkow & Emir Kamenica, 2011. "Competition in Persuasion," NBER Working Papers 17436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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