Taking Advice from Imperfectly Informed Lobbyists: When to Match Hawks with Hawks
In this paper we study a sender-receiver game between an uninformed government and two informed lobbyists. There is a conflict of interest between government and lobbyists in the sense that the government's payoff is state-dependent while lobbyists prefer a certain policy irrespective of the contingency. Hence, lobbyists' recommendations cannot be trusted a priori and a single lobbyist will convey no information in equilibrium. When two or more lobbyists interact non-cooperatively, matters improve. Our main result is that, contrasting previous results, homogeneous panels may be preferred to a heterogeneous one. If lobbyists are perfectly informed the first-best equilibrium exists even when the game has cheap talk. Moreover, if inaccurate messages impose a cost on the sender, i.e., if lobbyists care about their prestige, the assumption of perfectly informed advisors is not necessary to sustain truthtelling. In other words, reputational concerns work as a substitute for informational precision.
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