Creating Confusion

C Edmond, Yang K Lu

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne | Published : 2018


We develop a model in which a politician seeks to prevent people from making informed decisions. The politician can manipulate information at a cost, but cannot commit to an information structure. The receivers are rational and internalize the politician’s incentives. In the unique equilibrium of the game, the receivers’ beliefs are unbiased but endogenously noisy. We use this model to interpret the rise of social media. We argue that social media simultaneously (i) improves the underlying, intrinsic precision of the receivers’ information but also (ii) reduces the politician’s costs of manipulation. We show that there is a critical threshold such that if the costs of manipulation fall enoug..

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University of Melbourne Researchers