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Intentional Vagueness

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  • Oliver Board
  • Andreas Blume

Abstract

This paper analyzes communication with a language that is vague in the sense that identical messages do not always result in identical interpretations. It is shown that strategic agents frequently add to this vagueness by being intentionally vague, i.e. they deliberately choose less precise messages than they have to among the ones available to them in equilibrium. Having to communicate with a vague language can be welfare enhancing because it mitigates conflict. In equilibria that satisfy a dynamic stability condition intentional vagueness increases with the degree of conflict between sender and receiver.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 365.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:pit:wpaper:365

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  1. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob de Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," DNB Working Papers 170, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  2. Petra M. Geraats, 2007. "The Mystique of Central Bank Speak," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(1), pages 37-80, March.
  3. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  4. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2008. "Truth or Efficiency? Communication in a Sequential Public Good Game," Discussion Paper 2008-047, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  5. David P. Myatt & Torun Dewan, 2007. "The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," Economics Series Working Papers 311, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Cheryl Boudreau & Arthur Lupia & Mathew D. McCubbins & Daniel B. Rodriguez, 2005. "The Judge as a Fly on the Wall: Interpretive Lessons from Positive Theories of Communication and Legislation," Law and Economics 0510001, EconWPA.
  7. David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," Economics Series Working Papers 185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Basu, K. & Weibull, J.W., 1990. "Strategy Subsets Closed Under Rational Behaviour," Papers 479, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  9. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  10. Jehiel, Philippe & Ettinger, David, 2010. "A theory of deception," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5434, Paris Dauphine University.
  11. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  12. Andreas Blume & Oliver Board & Kohei Kawamura, 2007. "Noisy Talk," ESE Discussion Papers 167, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  13. Crawford, Vincent P., 2001. "Lying for Strategic Advantage: Rational and Boundedly Rational Misrepresentation of Intentions," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6k65014s, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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Cited by:
  1. Hertel, Johanna & Smith, John, 2010. "Not so cheap talk: Costly and discrete communication," MPRA Paper 23560, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Hiding an Inconvenient Truth: Lies and Vagueness," Discussion Paper 2010-029, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  3. Penélope Hernández & Bernhard von Stengel, 2012. "Nash Codes for Noisy Channels," Discussion Papers in Economic Behaviour 0912, University of Valencia, ERI-CES.
  4. K.J.M. De Jaegher & R. van Rooij, 2011. "Game-theoretic pragmatics under conflicting and common interests," Working Papers 11-25, Utrecht School of Economics.
  5. Di Maggio, Marco, 2009. "Accountability and Cheap Talk," MPRA Paper 18652, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Hernández, Penélope & Urbano, Amparo & Vila, José E., 2012. "Pragmatic languages with universal grammars," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 738-752.
  7. Blume, Andreas, 2012. "A class of strategy-correlated equilibria in sender–receiver games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 510-517.
  8. Hakenes, Hendrik & Schnabel, Isabel, 2013. "Regulatory Capture by Sophistication," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79991, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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