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Professional Advice: The Theory of Reputational Cheap Talk

  • Marco Ottaviani

    (London Business School)

  • Peter Norman Sorensen

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Professional experts offer advice with the objective of appearing well informed. Their ability is evaluated on the basis of the advice given and of the realized state of the world. This situation is modeled as a reputational cheap-talk game in which the expert receives a signal of continuously varying intensity with ability-dependent precision about a continuum of states. Despite allowing an arbitrarily rich message space, at most two messages are sent in equilibrium. The expert can only credibly transmit the direction but not the intensity of the information possessed. Equilibrium advice is then systematically less informative than under truthtelling.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 02-05.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0205
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  1. Ehrbeck, Tilman & Waldmann, Robert, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40, February.
  2. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 1999. "A Model of Expertise," Working Papers 154, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  3. Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "The Value of Public Information in Monopoly," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1479, Econometric Society.
  4. Avery, Christopher N. & Chevalier, Judith A., 1999. "Herding over the career," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 327-333, June.
  5. Marco Battaglini, 1999. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Discussion Papers 1295, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  8. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
  9. Paul Heidhues & Johan Lagerlöf, 2000. "Hiding Information in Electoral Competition," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-06, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Feb 2002.
  10. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sorensen, 2001. "The Strategy of Professional Forecasting," Discussion Papers 01-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  11. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
  12. Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988. "Herd behavior and investment," Working papers WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  13. Ewerhart, Christian & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2000. ""Yes Men," Integrity, and the Optimal Design of Incentive Contracts," MPRA Paper 12534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Seidmann, Daniel J., 1990. "Effective cheap talk with conflicting interests," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 445-458, April.
  15. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  16. Effinger, Matthias R. & Polborn, Mattias K., 2001. "Herding and anti-herding: A model of reputational differentiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 385-403, March.
  17. Gul, Faruk & Lundholm, Russell, 1995. "Endogenous Timing and the Clustering of Agents' Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1039-66, October.
  18. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
  19. 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.
  20. Zitzewitz, Eric, 2001. "Measuring Herding and Exaggeration by Equity Analysts and Other Opinion Sellers," Research Papers 1802, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  21. Piccione, Michele & Tan, Guofu, 1996. "A Simple Model of Expert and Non-Expert Bidding in First-Price Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 501-515, August.
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