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Comparative cheap talk

Author

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  • Chakraborty, Archishman
  • Harbaugh, Rick

Abstract

When are comparative statements credible? For instance, when can a professor rank different students for an employer, or a stock analyst rank different stocks for a client? We show that simple complementarity conditions ensure that an expert with private information about multiple issues can credibly rank the issues for a decision maker. By restricting the expert’s ability to exaggerate, multidimensional cheap talk of this form permits communication when it would not be credible in a single dimension. The communication gains can be substantial with even a couple of issues, and the complete ranking is asymptotically equivalent to full revelation as the number of issues becomes large. Nevertheless, partial rankings are sometimes more credible and/or more profitable for the expert than the complete ranking. We confirm the robustness of comparative cheap talk to asymmetries that are not too large. Moreover, we show that for a sufficiently large number of independent issues there are always some issues sufficiently symmetric to permit influential cheap talk.
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Suggested Citation

  • Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2007. "Comparative cheap talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 70-94, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:132:y:2007:i:1:p:70-94
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    Other versions of this item:

    • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2004. "Comparative Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2004-08, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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