Credible debate equilibria
- 78 Downloads
Legislation is not an end in itself, but means to an end. Unfortunately, the technical relationship connecting any legislation to real consequences is rarely known for sure. In debate, legislators have an opportunity to persuade others of the relative value of particular bills, to influence the substance of the agenda, and to affect voting decisions. Since preferences over consequences are typically taken to be fixed, such persuasion etc. necessarily amounts to changing beliefs over the likely effects of various alternative bills. The extent to which debate can be effective in altering others' beliefs depends on how audiences interpret and assimilate any information speechmakers volunteer. This paper considers one plausible approach to credibility in debate. Debate is modeled as a cheap talk stage preceding an endogenous agenda setting game under incomplete information. In this framework, the issue can be formulated in terms of what constitutes an equilibrium. It is demonstrated that a fairly weak and intuitively plausible criterion of credibility effectively leads to there being little opportunity for credible transmission of information in debate.
KeywordsEconomic Theory Incomplete Information Real Consequence Agenda Setting Cheap Talk
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Austen-Smith D (1989) Information transmission in debate. Am J Polit Sci (forthcoming)Google Scholar
- Banks J (1988) Agency budgets, cost information and auditing. Am J Polit Sci (forthcoming)Google Scholar
- Cho In-Koo, Kreps D (1987) Signaling games and stable equilibria. Q J Econ 102: 179–221Google Scholar
- Crawford V, Sobel J (1982) Strategic information transmission. Econometrica 50: 1431–1451Google Scholar
- De Groot M (1970) Optimal statistical decisions. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Farrell J (1988) Meaning and credibility in cheap-talk games. Forthcoming. In: Dempster M (ed) Mathematical models in economics. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Gilligan T, Krehbiel K (1987) Collective decision-making and standing committees: a collective choice rationale for restrictive amendment procedures. J Law Econ Organiz 3: 287–335Google Scholar
- Kreps D, Wilson R (1982) Sequential equilibria. Econometrica 50: 863–894Google Scholar
- Matthews S (1989) Veto threats: rhetoric in a bargaining game. Q J Econ 104: 347–369Google Scholar
- Matthews S, Okuno-Fujiwara M, Postlewaite A (1988) Communication in Bayesian games: issues and problems. University of Pennsylvania (mimeo)Google Scholar
- Ordeshook P, Palfrey T (1988) Agendas, strategic voting, and signaling with incomplete information. Am J Polit Sci 32: 441–466Google Scholar