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Persuasion as a Contest

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  • Stergios Skaperdas
  • Samarth Vaidya

Abstract

From marketing and advertising to political campaigning and court proceedings, contending parties expend resources to persuade an audience of the correctness of their view. We examine how the probability of persuading the audience depends on the resources expended by the parties, so that persuasion can be modelled as a contest. We use a Bayesian approach whereby the audience makes inferences solely based on the evidence presented to them. The evidence is produced by the resources expended by the contending parties. We find conditions on evidence production and likelihood functions that yield the well-known additive contest success functions, including the logit function as well as the one used in all-pay auctions. We also find conditions that produce a “difference” functional form. In all cases, there are three main determinants of which side the audience chooses: (i) the truth and other objective parameters of the environment; (ii) the biases of the audience as distilled in their priors and the likelihood function employed ; and (iii) the resources expended by the parties interested in persuading the audience.

Suggested Citation

  • Stergios Skaperdas & Samarth Vaidya, 2007. "Persuasion as a Contest," CESifo Working Paper Series 2160, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2160
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cubel, María & Sanchez-Pages, Santiago, 2016. "An axiomatization of difference-form contest success functions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 92-105.
    2. Michael McBride & Stergios Skaperdas & Pi-Han Tsai, 2014. "Why Go to Court? Bargaining Failure under the Shadow of Trial with Complete Information," Working Papers 131406, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    3. Luke M. Froeb & Bernhard Ganglmair & Steven Tschantz, 2016. "Adversarial Decision Making: Choosing between Models Constructed by Interested Parties," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 527-548.
    4. Gil Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2013. "The efficacy and efforts of interest groups in post elections policy formation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 77-105, February.
    5. Martin Gregor, 2011. "Corporate lobbying: A review of the recent literature," Working Papers IES 2011/32, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Nov 2011.
    6. Stergios Skaperdas & Samarth Vaidya, 2016. "Contested Persuasion," Working Papers 161704, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    7. Jia, Hao & Skaperdas, Stergios & Vaidya, Samarth, 2013. "Contest functions: Theoretical foundations and issues in estimation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 211-222.
    8. Hao Jia & Stergios Skaperdas, 2011. "Technologies of Conflict," Working Papers 101111, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    9. Corchón, Luis & Dahm, Matthias, 2011. "Welfare maximizing contest success functions when the planner cannot commit," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 309-317.
    10. María Cubel & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2014. "Difference-form group contests," Working Papers 2014/6, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    11. Ikeda Yasuhiro & Mori Daisuke, 2015. "Can Decoupling Punitive Damages Deter an Injurer’s Harmful Activity?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 513-528, November.
    12. Ian A. MacKenzie, 2014. "Precaution with endogenous litigation choices," Discussion Papers Series 535, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    13. Gerry Antioch, 2013. "Persuasion is now 30 per cent of US GDP," Economic Roundup, The Treasury, Australian Government, issue 1, pages 1-10, April.
    14. Enrico Spolaore, 2008. "Civil conflict and secessions," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 45-63, January.
    15. Kai Konrad & Dan Kovenock, 2012. "Introduction," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(2), pages 241-245, October.
    16. Ben Chen & Jose A. Rodrigues Neto, 2017. "Emotions in Civil Litigation," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2017-653, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    17. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2018. "Limited capacity in project selection: competition through evidence production," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 65(2), pages 385-421, March.
    18. Wan-Ju Franz, 2014. "Why are Some Salespeople More Aggressive than Others?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 42(4), pages 383-397, December.
    19. Osório-Costa, António M., 2015. "Argumentation Quantity and Quality: A Litigation Success Function," MPRA Paper 63275, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Wang Zhewei, 2010. "The Optimal Accuracy Level in Asymmetric Contests," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-18, April.
    21. Denter, Philipp, 2013. "A theory of communication in political campaigns," Economics Working Paper Series 1302, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    22. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Cubel, Maria, 2015. "An axiomatization of difference-form contest success functions," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-49, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    23. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2014. "Coasean Bargaining in the Presence of Pigouvian Taxation: Revisiting the Buchanan-Stubblebine-Turvey Theorem," Discussion Papers Series 515, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    24. repec:cai:repdal:redp_273_0307 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rent-seeking; advertising; litigation; political campaigning; property rights;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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