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A study in the pragmatics of persuasion: a game theoretical approach

Author

Listed:
  • Glazer, Jacob

    () (Tel Aviv University and Boston University)

  • Rubinstein, Ariel

    () (Tel Aviv University and New York University)

Abstract

A speaker wishes to persuade a listener to take a certain action. The conditions under which the request is justified, from the listener’s point of view, depend on the state of the world, which is known only to the speaker. Each state is characterized by a set of statements from which the speaker chooses. A persuasion rule specifies which statements the listener finds persuasive. We study persuasion rules that maximize the probability that the listener accepts the request if and only if it is justified, given that the speaker maximizes the probability that his request is accepted. We prove that there always exists a persuasion rule involving no randomization and that all optimal persuasion rules are ex-post optimal. We relate our analysis to the field of pragmatics.

Suggested Citation

  • Glazer, Jacob & Rubinstein, Ariel, 2006. "A study in the pragmatics of persuasion: a game theoretical approach," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 395-410, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:211
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein,Ariel, 2000. "Economics and Language," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521789905.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miura, Shintaro, 2014. "A characterization of equilibrium set of persuasion games with binary actions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 55-68.
    2. Sergiu Hart & Ilan Kremer & Motty Perry, 2017. "Evidence Games: Truth and Commitment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 690-713, March.
    3. Di Maggio, Marco, 2009. "Sweet Talk: A Theory of Persuasion," MPRA Paper 18697, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. P. Milgrom., 2009. "What the Seller Won’t Tell You: Persuasion and Disclosure in Markets," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 3.
    5. Frédéric Loss & Estelle Malavolti & Thibaud Vergé, 2013. "Communication and Binary Decisions: Is it Better to Communicate?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 169(3), pages 451-467, September.
    6. Sher, Itai & Vohra, Rakesh, 2015. "Price discrimination through communication," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    7. Mike Felgenhauer & Elisabeth Schulte, 2014. "Strategic Private Experimentation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 74-105, November.
    8. Ben-Porath, Elchanan & Lipman, Barton L., 2012. "Implementation with partial provability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1689-1724.
    9. Penélope Hernández & Bernhard von Stengel, 2014. "Nash Codes for Noisy Channels," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 62(6), pages 1221-1235, December.
    10. Elchanan Ben-Porath & Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2014. "Disclosure and Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2017-002, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jan 2017.
    11. Lambert-Mogiliansky, A., 2015. "Social accountability to contain corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 158-168.
    12. Jacob Glazer & Ariel Rubinstein, 2011. "A Model of Persuasion with a Boundedly Rational Agent," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000258, David K. Levine.
    13. Péter Eső & Ádám Galambos, 2013. "Disagreement and evidence production in strategic information transmission," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 42(1), pages 263-282, February.
    14. Strausz, Roland, 2017. "Mechanism Design with Partially Verifiable Information," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 45, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    15. Sher, Itai, 2011. "Credibility and determinism in a game of persuasion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 409-419, March.
    16. Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2015. "A Game-Theoreteic Analysis of Minority Language Use in Multilingual Societies," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2015-93, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    17. Bull Jesse, 2008. "Mechanism Design with Moderate Evidence Cost," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-20, May.
    18. 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.
    19. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli, 2014. "Persuasion with Reference Cues and Elaboration Costs," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 102, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    20. Elchanan Ben-Porath & Barton L. Lipman, 2009. "Implementation and Partial Provability," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2009-002, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    21. Chen, Ying & Olszewski, Wojciech, 2011. "Effective persuasion," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1310, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    22. Yun Wang, 2015. "Bayesian Persuasion with Multiple Receivers," WISE Working Papers 2015-03-24, Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE), Xiamen University.
    23. Elias Tsakas & Nikolas Tsakas & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2017. "Resisting Persuasion," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 07-2017, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Persuasion; mechanism design; hard evidence; pragmatics;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • 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

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