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Effective persuasion

  • Chen, Ying
  • Olszewski, Wojciech
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    Do elementary statistics or equilibrium theory deliver any rules of thumb regarding how we should argue in debates? We suggest a framework for normative analysis of debates. In our framework, each discussant wants the audience to believe that the actual state coincides with the discussant's favorite state. We show that if the discussants' payoff functions in the audience's posterior are concave above the prior, convex below the prior, and exhibit some form of loss aversion, then the discussant who begins the debate should first present weaker arguments rather than stronger arguments, and the discussant who speaks second should respond with weak arguments to weak arguments, and with strong arguments to strong arguments. We derive similar rules of thumb regarding the choice between presenting evidence that is independent of the opponent's evidence versus presenting evidence that is potentially correlated. Keywords; persuasion, hard evidence, debate

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    File URL: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/353827/1/combined%201310.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 1310.

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    Date of creation: 03 Feb 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:1310
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    1. Itai Sher, 2008. "Persuasion and Limited Communication," Working Papers 2008-2, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics, revised 02 2008.
    2. 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.
    3. Jacob Glazer & Ariel Rubinstein, 2004. "On Optimal Rules of Persuasion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1715-1736, November.
    4. Dziuda, Wioletta, 2011. "Strategic argumentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1362-1397, July.
    5. 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.
    6. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
    7. A. Rubinstein & J. Glazer, . "Debates and Decisions, On a Rationale of Argumentation Rules," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s7, Economics Department, Princeton University.
    8. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
    9. Sher, Itai, 2011. "Credibility and determinism in a game of persuasion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 409-419, March.
    10. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    11. Rubinstein, Ariel & Glazer, Jacob, 2006. "A study in the pragmatics of persuasion: a game theoretical approach," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 395-410, December.
    12. Shin Hyun Song, 1994. "The Burden of Proof in a Game of Persuasion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 253-264, October.
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