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Not so cheap talk: costly and discrete communication

Author

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  • Johanna Hertel
  • John Smith

Abstract

We model an interaction between an informed sender and an uninformed receiver. As in the classic cheap talk setup, the informed player sends a message to an uninformed receiver who is to take an action which affects the payoffs of both players. However, in our model, the sender can communicate only through the use of discrete messages which are ordered by the cost incurred by the sender. We characterize the resulting equilibria without refining out-of-equilibrium beliefs. Subsequently, we apply an adapted version of the no incentive to separate (NITS) condition to our model. We show that if the sender and receiver have aligned preferences regarding the action of the receiver, then NITS only admits the equilibrium with the largest possible number of induced actions. When the preferences between players are not aligned, we show that NITS does not guarantee uniqueness, and we provide an example where an increase in communication costs can improve communication. As we show, this improvement can occur to such an extent that the equilibrium outperforms the Goltsman et al. (J Econ Theory 144:1397–1420, 2009 ) upper bound for receiver’s payoffs in mediated communication. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Johanna Hertel & John Smith, 2013. "Not so cheap talk: costly and discrete communication," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 267-291, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:75:y:2013:i:2:p:267-291
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-012-9337-0
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    Cited by:

    1. Irene Valsecchi, 2013. "The expert problem: a survey," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 303-331, November.
    2. Sean Duffy & Tyson Hartwig & John Smith, 2014. "Costly and discrete communication: an experimental investigation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(3), pages 395-417, March.
    3. Aurora García-Gallego & Penélope Hernández-Rojas & Amalia Rodrigo-González, 2019. "Efficient coordination in the lab," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 14(1), pages 175-201, March.
    4. Hugo M. Mialon & Sue H. Mialon, 2013. "Go Figure: The Strategy of Nonliteral Speech," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 186-212, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information transmission; Cheap talk; Equilibrium selection; Costly communication; C72; D82; D83;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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