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Truth or Efficiency? Communication in a Sequential Public Good Game (Replaced by DP 2010-80)

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Author Info

  • Serra Garcia, M.
  • Damme, E.E.C. van
  • Potters, J.J.M.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

We examine communication in a 2-player sequential public good game in which the leader has private information about the return from contributing to it. The leader decides first and the follower observes the leader's contribution, before de- ciding whether or not to contribute. Without communication, the unique equilib- rium is fully efficient. We study whether the introduction of communication about returns can destroy efficiency. Communication can be precise (about the exact re- turn), or vague. If leaders would communicate precisely and truthfully, they would reveal that followers would do best to free ride, thereby distorting both players' incentives to invest and destroying efficiency. We show that leaders lie in order to avoid these negative consequences. If vague messages are allowed, the extent of lying drops and vague messages are used instead. Overall, followers contribute when the leader does, and the introduction of communication neither increases nor decreases contributions to the public good.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2008-107.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:2008107

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

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Keywords: Communication; Efficiency; Lying; Public Goods;

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References

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  1. J. Farrell, 2010. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap Talk Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 533, David K. Levine.
  2. KOHLBERG, Elon & MERTENS, Jean-François, . "On the strategic stability of equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers RP -716, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Guth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Sutter, Matthias & van der Heijden, Eline, 2007. "Leading by example with and without exclusion power in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1023-1042, June.
  4. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007. "An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-112, October.
  7. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  10. Moxnes, E. & Heijden, E.C.M. van der, 2000. "The Effect of Leadership in a Public Bad Experiment," Discussion Paper 2000-102, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. 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.
  12. Myerson, Roger B., 1994. "Communication, correlated equilibria and incentive compatibility," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 827-847 Elsevier.
  13. Sjaak Hurkens & Navin Kartik, 2006. "(When) Would I Lie To You? Comment on ?Deception: The Role of Consequences?," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 664.06, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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