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On the Optimality of Diverse Expert Panels in Persuasion Games

  • Sourav Bhattacharya
  • Maria Goltsman
  • Arijit Mukherjee

We consider a persuasion game between a decision-maker and a panel of biased experts. The decision-maker prefers to take an action in [0, 1] that matches the underlying state but relies on the experts to learn the state. Each expert has his `ideal` action or `agenda` and may conceal unfavorable information. If the decision- maker can select the panel members based on their agendas, what panel would she choose? While common intuition favors diverse panel (as experts would restrict each other`s ability to alter information), Bhattacharya and Mukherjee (2013) presents an example where a `homogeneous` panel (either all have agenda 0, or all have agenda 1) is more conducive to information revelation than a `diverse` panel (where one expert`s agenda is 0 the other`s is 1). We analyze the optimal diversity in expert panels and show that under mild conditions, a homogeneous panel is optimal when the experts observe the state independently of each other. But if the observability of the state is correlated across experts, diverse panel may be optimal. Hence, the diversity of agendas must be considered in conjunction with the diversity of information sources, and it is never optimal to seek diversity in both dimensions.

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Paper provided by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 516.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision: Dec 2013
Handle: RePEc:pit:wpaper:516
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  1. Marco Battaglini, 1999. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Discussion Papers 1295, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  3. Lipman Barton L. & Seppi Duane J., 1995. "Robust Inference in Communication Games with Partial Provability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 370-405, August.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
  5. Sourav Bhattacharya & Arijit Mukherjee, 2013. "Strategic information revelation when experts compete to influence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(3), pages 522-544, 09.
  6. Klaas J. Beniers, 2004. "On the Composition of Committees," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 353-378, October.
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