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Communication for Public Goods

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Abstract

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 suffers 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kohei Kawamura, 2008. "Communication for Public Goods," ESE Discussion Papers 182, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bjornskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina AV & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2009. "On the relation between income inequality and happiness: Do fairness perceptions matter?," MPRA Paper 19494, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kovác, Eugen & Mylovanov, Tymofiy, 2009. "Stochastic mechanisms in settings without monetary transfers: The regular case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1373-1395, July.
    3. Boris Gershman, 2014. "The two sides of envy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 407-438, December.
    4. Samano, Daniel, 2009. "Explaining Taxes at the Upper Tail of the Income Distribution: The Role of Utility Interdependence," MPRA Paper 19112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Perez Truglia, Ricardo Nicolas, 2007. "Conspicuous consumption in the land of Prince Charming," MPRA Paper 22009, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Mar 2010.
    6. Silber, Jacques & Verme, Paolo, 2012. "Relative deprivation, reference groups and the assessment of standard of living," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-45.
    7. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2006. "Methods of Comparison in Games of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 138, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    communication; public good provision; cheap talk; committee; non-binding referendum;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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