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False Modesty

Listed author(s):
  • Rick Harbaugh

    (Indiana University)

  • Dr. Theodore To

    (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Is it always wise to disclose good news? When both the sender and the receiver have private information about the sender's quality, we find that the worst sender type with good news has the most incentive to disclose it, so reporting good news can paradoxically make the sender look bad. If the good news is attainable by sufficiently mediocre types, or if the sender is already expected to be of a relatively high type, nondisclosure equilibria exist in which good news is withheld. Since the sender has a legitimate fear of looking too eager to reveal good news, having a third party disclose the news, or mandating that the sender disclose the news, can help the sender. The predictions are tested by examining when faculty use titles such as 'Dr' and 'Professor' in voicemail greetings and course syllabi.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/game/papers/0508/0508003.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0508003.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 06 Aug 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0508003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 20
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
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