IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/gamebe/v74y2012i2p541-560.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Authority and communication in the laboratory

Author

Listed:
  • Lai, Ernest K.
  • Lim, Wooyoung

Abstract

We report findings from experiments on two delegation–communication games. An uninformed principal chooses whether to fully delegate her decision-making authority to an informed agent or to retain the authority and communicate with the agent via cheap talk to obtain decision-relevant information. In the game in which the delegation outcome is payoff-dominated by both the truthful and the babbling communication outcomes, we find that principal-subjects almost always retain their authority and agent-subjects communicate truthfully. Significantly more choices of delegation than of communication are observed in another game in which the delegation outcome payoff-dominates the unique babbling communication outcome; yet there is a non-negligible fraction of principal-subjects who holds on to their authority and agent-subjects who transmits some information. A level-k analysis of the game indicates that a principal-subject “under-delegates” due to the belief that her less-than-fully-strategic opponent will provide information; such belief is in turn consistent with the actual play.

Suggested Citation

  • Lai, Ernest K. & Lim, Wooyoung, 2012. "Authority and communication in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 541-560.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:541-560
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.08.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825611001345
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.geb.2011.08.006?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2004. "Strategic delegation in experimental markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 561-574, April.
    2. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
    3. Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "Optimal Delegation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 259-293.
    4. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes, 2006. "Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1737-1768, December.
    5. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    6. Cai, Hongbin & Wang, Joseph Tao-Yi, 2006. "Overcommunication in strategic information transmission games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 7-36, July.
    7. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    8. Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz & Tom Wilkening, 2013. "The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1325-1359, June.
    9. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    10. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
    11. Tore Ellingsen & Robert Östling, 2010. "When Does Communication Improve Coordination?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1695-1724, September.
    12. Blume, Andreas & DeJong, Douglas V. & Kim, Yong-Gwan & Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 2001. "Evolution of Communication with Partial Common Interest," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 79-120, October.
    13. repec:ner:ucllon:http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/17678/ is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naïveté, and Sophistication in Experimental "Hide-and-Seek" Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1731-1750, December.
    15. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    16. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naivete, and Sophistication in Experimental Hide-and-Seek Games," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000861, UCLA Department of Economics.
    17. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
    18. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Boundedly Rational Rule Learning in a Guessing Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 303-330, October.
    19. Vincent P. Crawford, 2003. "Lying for Strategic Advantage: Rational and Boundedly Rational Misrepresentation of Intentions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 133-149, March.
    20. Kawagoe, Toshiji & Takizawa, Hirokazu, 2009. "Equilibrium refinement vs. level-k analysis: An experimental study of cheap-talk games with private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-255, May.
    21. Fershtman, Chaim & Gneezy, Uri, 2001. "Strategic Delegation: An Experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 352-368, Summer.
    22. 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.
    23. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    24. Silvia Dominguez-Martinez & Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2010. "Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority," CESifo Working Paper Series 3172, CESifo.
    25. Stahl, Dale II & Wilson, Paul W., 1994. "Experimental evidence on players' models of other players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 309-327, December.
    26. repec:pit:wpaper:382 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
    28. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
    29. COOPER, R. & DEJONG, D.V. & FORSYTHE, R. & Tom Ross, 1989. "Communication In The Battle Of The Sexes Game," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 89-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    30. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.
    31. Dale O. Stahl, 1999. "Evidence based rules and learning in symmetric normal-form games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(1), pages 111-130.
    32. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    33. Duffy, John & Feltovich, Nick, 2002. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? An Experimental Comparison of Observation and Cheap Talk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-27, April.
    34. Joyce E. Berg & Lane A. Daley & John W. Dickhaut & John R. O'Brien, 1986. "Controlling Preferences for Lotteries on Units of Experimental Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 281-306.
    35. Joseph Tao-yi Wang & Michael Spezio & Colin F. Camerer, 2010. "Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 984-1007, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ezquerra, Lara & Kujal, Praveen, 2020. "Self-selecting into being a dictator: Distributional consequences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    2. Fehrler, Sebastian & Janas, Moritz, 2021. "Delegation to a Group," IZA Discussion Papers 14426, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Peter H. Kriss & Roberto Weber, 2013. "Organizational formation and change: lessons from economic laboratory experiments," Chapters, in: Anna Grandori (ed.), Handbook of Economic Organization, chapter 14, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Battaglini, Marco & Lai, Ernest K. & Lim, Wooyoung & Wang, Joseph Tao-Yi, 2019. "The Informational Theory of Legislative Committees: An Experimental Analysis," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 55-76, February.
    5. Silvia Dominguez-Martinez & Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2010. "Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority," CESifo Working Paper Series 3172, CESifo.
    6. Katharina Eckartz & Christiane Ehses-Friedrich, 2014. "Strategic Communication: An Experimental Investigation," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    7. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Randolph Sloof, 2016. "Communication versus (Restricted) Delegation: An Experimental Comparison," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-050/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    9. Jiabin Wu, 2018. "Indirect higher order beliefs and cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(4), pages 858-876, December.
    10. Leonard Hoeft & Michael Kurschilgen & Wladislaw Mill & Simone Vannuccini, 2022. "Norms as Obligations," Munich Papers in Political Economy 22, Munich School of Politics and Public Policy and the School of Management at the Technical University of Munich.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Crawford, Vincent P., 2017. "Let׳s talk it over: Coordination via preplay communication with level-k thinking," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 20-31.
    2. Kawagoe, Toshiji & Takizawa, Hirokazu, 2009. "Equilibrium refinement vs. level-k analysis: An experimental study of cheap-talk games with private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-255, May.
    3. Li, Xiaolin & Özer, Özalp & Subramanian, Upender, 2022. "Are we strategically naïve or guided by trust and trustworthiness in cheap-talk communication?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107103, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2010. "Strategic Thinking," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000001148, David K. Levine.
    5. Tore Ellingsen & Robert Östling, 2010. "When Does Communication Improve Coordination?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1695-1724, September.
    6. Minozzi, William & Woon, Jonathan, 2016. "Competition, preference uncertainty, and jamming: A strategic communication experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 97-114.
    7. Minozzi, William & Woon, Jonathan, 2019. "The limited value of a second opinion: Competition and exaggeration in experimental cheap talk games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 144-162.
    8. J. Hausfeld & K. von Hesler & S. Goldlücke, 2021. "Strategic gaze: an interactive eye-tracking study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(1), pages 177-205, March.
    9. Ellingsen, Tore & Östling, Robert, 2006. "Organizational Structure as the Channeling of Boundedly Rational Pre-play Communication," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 634, Stockholm School of Economics.
    10. David Ettinger & Philippe Jehiel, 2021. "An experiment on deception, reputation and trust," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(3), pages 821-853, September.
    11. Hu, Youxin & Kagel, John & Yang, Huanxing & Zhang, Lan, 2020. "The effects of pre-play communication in a coordination game with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 403-415.
    12. Rode, Julian, 2007. "Truth and Trust in Communication: An Experimental Study of Behavior under Asymmetric Information," Ratio Working Papers 111, The Ratio Institute.
    13. Giovanna Devetag & Sibilla Guida & Luca Polonio, 2016. "An eye-tracking study of feature-based choice in one-shot games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 177-201, March.
    14. Hagenbach, Jeanne & Perez-Richet, Eduardo, 2018. "Communication with evidence in the lab," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 139-165.
    15. Rode, Julian, 2010. "Truth and trust in communication: Experiments on the effect of a competitive context," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 325-338, January.
    16. Ellingsen, Tore & Östling, Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2018. "How does communication affect beliefs in one-shot games with complete information?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 153-181.
    17. Francisca Jiménez-Jiménez & Javier Rodero Cosano, 2021. "Experimental cheap talk games: strategic complementarity and coordination," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 235-263, September.
    18. Feng, Jun & Qin, Xiangdong & Wang, Xiaoyuan, 2021. "A Bayesian cognitive hierarchy model with fixed reasoning levels," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 704-723.
    19. Antonio Cabrales & Michalis Drouvelis & Zeynep Gurguy & Indrajit Ray, 2017. "Transparency is Overrated: Communicating in a Coordination Game with Private Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 6781, CESifo.
    20. Dengler, Sebastian & Prüfer, Jens, 2021. "Consumers' privacy choices in the era of big data," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 499-520.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cheap-talk communication; Decision-making authority; Delegation; Laboratory experiment; Level-k model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • 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

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:541-560. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836 .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.