Strategic Communication Networks

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Working paper
Jeanne Hagenbach, Frédéric Koessler
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University of Warwick
We consider situations in which individuals would like to choose an action which is close to that of others, as well as close to a state of nature, with the ideal proximity to the state varying across agents. Before this coordination game is played, a cheap-talk communication stage is offered to the individuals who decide to whom they reveal their private information about the state. The information transmission occurring in the communication stage is characterized by a strategic communication network. We provide an explicit link between players’ preferences and the equilibrium strategic communication networks. A key feature of our equilibrium characterization is that whether communication takes place between two agents not only depends on the conflict of interest between these agents, but also on the number and preferences of the other agents with whom they communicate. Apart from some specific cases, the equilibrium communication networks are quite complex despite our simple one-dimensional description of preference heterogeneity. In general, strategic communication networks cannot be completely Pareto-ranked, but expected social welfare always increases as the communication network expands.
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