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Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship?

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    Abstract

    This paper studies information transmission between multiple agents with different preferences and a welfare maximizing decision maker who chooses the quality or quantity of a public good (e.g. provision of public health service; carbon emissions policy; pace of lectures in a classroom) that is consumed by all of them. Communication in such circumstances su¤ers from the agents. incentive to "exaggerate" their preferences relative to the average of the other agents, since the decision maker's reaction to each agent's message is weaker than in one-to-one communication. As the number of agents becomes larger the quality of information transmission diminishes. The use of binary messages (e.g. "yes" or "no") is shown to be a robust mode of communication when the main source of informational distortion is exaggeration.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.ed.ac.uk/papers/KawamuraCPG01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 182.

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    Length: 27
    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:182

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    Related research

    Keywords: : Communication; Public Good Provision; Cheap Talk; Committee; Non-binding Referendum;

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    1. Baliga, S. & Corchon, L.C. & Sjostrom, T., 1995. "The Theory of Implemetation when the Planner is a PLayer," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9512, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2008. "The Informational Effects of Competition and Collusion in Legislative Politics," MPRA Paper 6989, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Marco Battaglini, 2000. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1557, Econometric Society.
    4. William Fuchs & Vinicius Carrasco, 2008. "Dividing and Discarding A Procedure for Taking Decisions with Non-transferable Utility," 2008 Meeting Papers 315, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Ricardo Alonso & Wouter Dessein & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 145-79, March.
    6. Nahum D. Melumad & Toshiyuki Shibano, 1991. "Communication in Settings with No. Transfers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 173-198, Summer.
    7. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bjornskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina AV & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2009. "On the relation between income inequality and happiness: Do fairness perceptions matter?," MPRA Paper 19494, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Boris Gershman, 2012. "The Two Sides of Envy," Working Papers 2012-19, American University, Department of Economics.
    3. Silber, Jacques & Verme, Paolo, 2012. "Relative deprivation, reference groups and the assessment of standard of living," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-45.
    4. Samano, Daniel, 2009. "Explaining Taxes at the Upper Tail of the Income Distribution: The Role of Utility Interdependence," MPRA Paper 19112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2005. "Methods of Comparison in Games of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 138, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    6. Perez Truglia, Ricardo Nicolas, 2007. "Conspicuous consumption in the land of Prince Charming," MPRA Paper 22009, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Mar 2010.

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