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Biased Recommendations

  • Wonsuk Chung

    (Department of Economics, Indiana University)

  • Rick Harbaugh

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

We develop and experimentally test a discrete choice model of an expert who recommends one of multiple actions to a decision maker who might take no action. Consistent with the recent theoretical literature on cheap talk recommendations, we find that recommendations are "persuasive" in that they reduce the chance that the decision maker takes no action, that recommendations for an action the expert benefits more from are "discounted", that lack of "transparency" about expert incentives undermines communication by both biased and unbiased experts, and that experts "pander" to the perceived preferences of the decision maker.

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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2012-02.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2012-02
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  1. Marco Battaglini, 2002. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1379-1401, July.
  2. Sobel, Joel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 557-73, October.
  3. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  4. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Misselling through Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 883-908, June.
  5. Klaus Abbink & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2008. "The Pleasure of Being Nasty," FEMM Working Papers 08037, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  6. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2006. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2006-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Oct 2009.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Yeon-Koo Che & Wouter Dessein & Navin Kartik, 2010. "Pandering to Persuade," Levine's Bibliography 661465000000000163, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Alistair Wilson & Emanuel Vespa, 2012. "Communication With Multiple Senders and Multiple Dimensions: An Experiment," Working Papers 461, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2012.
  11. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007. "An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-112, October.
  12. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased Experts, Costly Lies, and Binary Decisions," Working Papers 10.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  13. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  14. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Paying for prominence," MPRA Paper 30529, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2007. "On the Limits of Communication in Multidimensional Cheap Talk: A Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 885-893, 05.
  17. Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2007. "Comparative cheap talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 70-94, January.
    • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2004. "Comparative Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2004-08, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  18. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2006. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Working Papers 06-02, NET Institute, revised Sep 2006.
  19. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, 01.
  20. Joseph Tao-yi Wang & Michael Spezio & Colin F. Camerer, 2010. "Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 984-1007, June.
  21. Cai, Hongbin & Wang, Joseph Tao-Yi, 2006. "Overcommunication in strategic information transmission games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 7-36, July.
  22. Blume, Andreas, et al, 1998. "Experimental Evidence on the Evolution of Meaning of Messages in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1323-40, December.
  23. Li, Ming & Madarász, Kristóf, 2008. "When mandatory disclosure hurts: Expert advice and conflicting interests," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 47-74, March.
  24. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  25. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  26. Morgan, J. & Stocken, P., 1998. "An Analysis of Stock Recommendations," Papers 204, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  27. Rajna Gibson & Carmen Tanner & Alexander F. Wagner, 2013. "Preferences for Truthfulness: Heterogeneity among and within Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 532-48, February.
  28. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
  29. Navin Kartik, 2008. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," 2008 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  30. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2012. "Competition through Commissions and Kickbacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 780-809, April.
  31. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2012. "Persuasive Puffery," Working Papers 2012-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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