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Information gatekeepers: theory and experimental evidence

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  • Isabelle Brocas
  • Juan Carrillo
  • Thomas Palfrey

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Abstract

We consider a model where two adversaries can spend resources in acquiring public information about the unknown state of the world in order to influence the choice of a decision maker. We characterize the sampling strategies of the adversaries in the equilibrium of the game. We show that as the cost of information acquisition for one adversary increases, that person collects less evidence whereas the other adversary collects more evidence. We then test the results in a controlled laboratory setting. The behavior of subjects is close to the theoretical predictions. Mistakes are relatively infrequent (15%). They occur in both directions, with a higher rate of over-sampling (39%) than under-sampling (8%). The main difference with the theory is the smooth decline in sampling around the theoretical equilibrium. Comparative statics are also consistent with the theory, with adversaries sampling more when their own cost is low and when the other adversary’s cost is high. Finally, there is little evidence of learning over the 40 matches of the experiment. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Brocas & Juan Carrillo & Thomas Palfrey, 2012. "Information gatekeepers: theory and experimental evidence," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(3), pages 649-676, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:51:y:2012:i:3:p:649-676
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-011-0615-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Gary Charness & Dan Levin, 2005. "When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1300-1309, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simeon Schudy & Verena Utikal, 2015. "Does imperfect data privacy stop people from collecting personal health data?," TWI Research Paper Series 98, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    2. Raphael Boleslavsky & Bruce Carlin & Christopher Cotton, 2017. "Competing for Capital: Auditing and Credibility in Financial Reporting," Working Papers 1377, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    3. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2018. "Signaling with costly acquisition of signals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 141-150.
    4. Henry, Emeric & Ottaviani, Marco, 2017. "Research and the Approval Process: The Organization of Persuasion," CEPR Discussion Papers 11939, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:4:p:685-711 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:411-429 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Matthew Gentzkow & Emir Kamenica, 2011. "Competition in Persuasion," NBER Working Papers 17436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Arnaud Dellis & Mandar Oak, 2016. "Overlobbying and Pareto-improving Agenda Constraint," School of Economics Working Papers 2016-05, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experimental design; Search; Information acquisition; Adversarial system; C91; D83;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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