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Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship?

This paper studies information transmission between multiple agents with different preferences and a welfare maximizing decision maker who chooses the quality or quantity of a public good (e.g. provision of public health service; carbon emissions policy; pace of lectures in a classroom) that is consumed by all of them. Communication in such circumstances su¤ers from the agents. incentive to "exaggerate" their preferences relative to the average of the other agents, since the decision maker's reaction to each agent's message is weaker than in one-to-one communication. As the number of agents becomes larger the quality of information transmission diminishes. The use of binary messages (e.g. "yes" or "no") is shown to be a robust mode of communication when the main source of informational distortion is exaggeration.

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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 182.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:182
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  1. Marco Battaglini, 2000. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1557, Econometric Society.
  2. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  3. Sanjay G. Reddy & Camelia Minoiu, 2007. "Has World Poverty Really Fallen?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 484-502, 09.
  4. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2008. "The informational effects of competition and collusion in legislative politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1541-1563, July.
  5. Wolinsky, Asher, 2002. "Eliciting information from multiple experts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 141-160, October.
  6. Ricardo Alonso & Wouter Dessein & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 145-79, March.
  7. Baliga, S. & Corchon, L.C. & Sjostrom, T., 1995. "The Theory of Implemetation when the Planner is a PLayer," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9512, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
  9. William Fuchs & Vinicius Carrasco, 2008. "Dividing and Discarding A Procedure for Taking Decisions with Non-transferable Utility," 2008 Meeting Papers 315, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Ricardo Alonso & Wouter Dessein & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "When does coordination require centralization?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58664, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Nahum D. Melumad & Toshiyuki Shibano, 1991. "Communication in Settings with No. Transfers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 173-198, Summer.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 2000. "Polarized platforms and moderate policies with checks and balances," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 1-20, January.
  13. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2000. "Imperfect commitment and the revelation principle: the multi-agent case," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 165-171, November.
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