IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Go Figure: The Strategy of Nonliteral Speech

  • Hugo M. Mialon
  • Sue H. Mialon

We develop a model of figurative or indirect speech, which may convey a meaning that differs from its literal meaning. The model yields analytical conditions for speech to be figurative in equilibrium and delivers a number of comparative statics results. For instance, it predicts that the likelihood of figurative speech is greater if the benefit to the listener of correctly understanding the speaker is greater. We then apply the model to analyze particular forms of indirect speech, including terseness, irony, and veiled bribery. Interestingly, the model provides a novel argument for the effectiveness of laws that strictly punish attempted bribery. (JEL D83, K42, Z13)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 186-212

in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:186-212
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.5.2.186
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Joseph Farrell., 1986. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Economics Working Papers 8609, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Hertel, Johanna & Smith, John, 2011. "Not so cheap talk: Costly and discrete communication," MPRA Paper 29148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Navin Kartik, 2008. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," 2008 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. OECD & Nuclear Energy Agency, 2010. "Case Law," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(2), pages 67-73.
  6. OECD & Nuclear Energy Agency, 2010. "Case Law," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(1), pages 93-102.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:186-212. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.