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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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File URL: http://kelley.iu.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2012-02-chung-harbaugh.pdf
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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
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Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2012-02
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  1. Inderst, Roman & Ottaviani, Marco, 2009. "Misselling through agents," IMFS Working Paper Series 36, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS), Goethe University Frankfurt.
  2. 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.
  3. Yeon-Koo Che & Wouter Dessein & Navin Kartik, 2013. "Pandering to Persuade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 47-79, February.
  4. 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.
  5. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased experts, costly lies, and binary decisions," IEW - Working Papers 496, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2010. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2361-82, December.
    • 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. Mark Armstrong & Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Paying for Prominence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages F368-F395, November.
  8. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
  9. Marco Battaglini, 2000. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1557, Econometric Society.
  10. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages F309-F328, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
  13. Navin Kartik, 2008. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," 2008 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Marc Vorsatz, 2004. "An Experimental Study of Truth-Telling in a Sender-Receiver Game," ESE Discussion Papers 128, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  15. Abbink, Klaus & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2009. "The pleasure of being nasty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 306-308, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2012. "Persuasive Puffery," Working Papers 2012-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  18. Morgan, John & Stocken, Phillip C, 2003. " An Analysis of Stock Recommendations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 183-203, Spring.
  19. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  20. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  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. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2012. "Competition through Commissions and Kickbacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 780-809, April.
  25. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  26. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  27. 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.
  28. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Misselling through Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 883-908, June.
  29. 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.
  30. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  31. Sobel, Joel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 557-73, October.
  32. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
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