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  • Gary Charness
  • Martin Dufwenberg


We show experimentally that whether and how communication achieves beneficial social outcomes in a hidden-information context depends crucially on whether low-talent agents can participate in a Pareto-improving outcome. Communication is effective (and patterns of lies and truth quite systematic) when this is feasible, but otherwise completely ineffective. We examine the data in light of two potentially relevant behavioral models: cost-of-lying and guilt-fromblame. (JEL D82, D83, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2011. "Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1211-1237, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:4:p:1211-37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
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    3. John Shea, 1999. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 275-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Wilson, Daniel J., 2009. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogeneous Capital to Productivity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 52-70.
    5. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2006. "Stock Prices, News, and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1293-1307, September.
    6. Victor Zarnowitz, 1992. "Business Cycles: Theory, History, Indicators, and Forecasting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number zarn92-1, January.
    7. Michelle Alexopoulos & Jon Cohen, 2009. "Volumes of Evidence: Examining Technical Change Last Century Through a New Lens," Working Papers tecipa-350, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Galí, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January.
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    11. Lone Engbo Christiansen, 2008. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to Productivity Slowdowns? Evidence from Patent Data," IMF Working Papers 08/24, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Patrick Francois & Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 2006. "Intrinsic Business Cycles with Pro-Cyclical R&D," Working Papers 1102, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    13. Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 2000. "Product vs. process innovations and economic fluctuations," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 137-163, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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