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A theory of deception

  • Jehiel, Philippe
  • Ettinger, David

This paper proposes an equilibrium approach to belief manipulation and deception in which agents only have coarse knowledge of their opponent's strategy. Equilibrium requires the coarse knowledge available to agents to be correct, and the inferences and optimizations to be made on the basis of the simplest theories compatible with the available knowledge. The approach can be viewed as formalizing into a game theoretic setting a well documented bias in social psychology, the fundamental attribution error. It is applied to a bargaining problem, thereby revealing a deceptive tactic that is hard to explain in the full rationality paradigm.

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Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/5434.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American economic journal : Microeconomics, 2010, Vol. 2, no. 1. pp. 1-20.Length: 19 pages
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/5434
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  1. Jehiel, Philippe, 2005. "Analogy-based expectation equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 81-104, August.
  2. Crawford, Vincent P., 2001. "Lying for Strategic Advantage: Rational and Boundedly Rational Misrepresentation of Intentions," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6k65014s, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:2:p:577-619 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:87:y:1973:i:3:p:355-74 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1989. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games with a Patient Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 759-78, July.
  6. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  7. Jeheil Phillippe, 1995. "Limited Horizon Forecast in Repeated Alternate Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 497-519, December.
  8. Sobel, Joel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 557-73, October.
  9. Ignacio Esponda, 2008. "Behavioral Equilibrium in Economies with Adverse Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1269-91, September.
  10. Philippe Jehiel & Dov Samet, 2007. "Valuation Equilibrium," Post-Print halshs-00754229, HAL.
  11. Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Coarse Thinking and Persuasion," NBER Working Papers 12720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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