This paper investigates self-serving belief distortion about dominant norms of honesty. We consider an environment where the subject can earn a monetary reward by lying. In contrast to the existing literature on motivated beliefs, we do not focus on distortion in one dimension alone, but instead consider beliefs in two dimensions, both of which have been shown to affect individual behavior: empirical (what other people do) and normative (what other people approve of). Our experimental findings are consistent with the predictions of a dual-self model in which conditional norm-followers strategically distort their beliefs to justify self-serving behavior. We argue that the asymmetry between what we infer from empirical as opposed to normative information is a key ingredient of belief distortion in our context: widespread honest behavior is a strong indicator of disapproval of lying (and thus that a norm of honesty is followed), but the opposite does not hold. Taken together, we show why, when, and which norm-relevant beliefs are strategically distorted.
Facundo Albornoz, Hector F. Calvo Pardo, Gregory Corcos and Emanuel Ornelas,
. "Sequential Exporting Across Countries and Products," SSRN.
How do exporters enter and expand their product scope and geographical presence? We show that exporters add products and countries sequentially, in an interdependent process. This process can be explained by a mechanism where new exporters are uncertain about the profitability of their products in different markets, but learn it as they start to export. Exploiting disaggregated data on French exporters, we find empirical evidence consistent with such a mechanism, where firms learn from their initial export experiences and adjust their sales, number of products and destination countries accordingly. Our results indicate that part of the learning is firm-specific, and not merely product- or market-specific. Furthermore, we find that firms tend to expand in the sub-extensive margin first by widening product scope within a destination and later by entering new destinations; and that firms' core products are particularly resilient despite being used to ``test the waters when entering additional countries.
Jacopo Bizzotto and Adrien Vigier,
. "Optimal School Design," SSRN.
We consider a population of students with heterogeneous characteristics, and examine the dual design problem consisting of (a) allocating students to schools and (b) choosing how to grade students in school, with a view to optimizing students' incentives to work hard. We show that any optimal school design exhibits stratification, and more lenient grading at the top-tier schools than at the bottom-tier schools. Our results highlight a novel trade-off between the size of the pie and its equal division in the context of school design.
Jacopo Bizzotto, Eduardo Perez-Richet and Adrien Vigier,
. "Communication via Third Parties," SSRN.
A principal designs an information structure and chooses transfers to an agent that are contingent on the action of a receiver. The principal faces a trade-off between, on the one hand, designing an information structure maximizing non-monetary payoffs, and on the other hand, minimizing the information rent that must be conceded to the agent in order to implement the information structure which the principal designed. We examine how this trade-off shapes communication. Our model can be applied to study the relationship between, e.g.: political organizations and the public relations companies that campaign on their behalf, firms and the companies marketing their products, consultancies and the analysts they employ.
Facundo Albornoz & Emanuel Ornelas & Irene Brambilla, 2020. "The Impact of Tariff Hikes on Firm Exports," Asociación Argentina de Economía Política: Working Papers 4316, Asociación Argentina de Economía Política.
We study how firms react to unexpected increases in import tariffs. We identify our results from a sudden removal of American preferential tariffs applied on Argentine imports under the Generalized System of Preferences, which reflected American retaliation to a dispute over intellectual property between the two countries. Critical for identification, the tariff hike affected a third of Argentine exports enjoying preferential access in the American market, but did nothing to the other two thirds. We find that the higher tariffs reduced export participation of affected Argentine firms in the US market, whereas resilient exporters dealt with the cost increase by reshuffling their export baskets away from the products whose tariffs increased. In fact, affected firms were more likely both to drop suspended products from their export basket and to start exporting new (non-suspended) products to the US. Interestingly, the extensive margin effects carry over third markets, where policy did not change: after the policy shock, affected firms selling to the US were less likely to export to other markets. This happened, however, only for firms that also exited the American market. Those findings reveal the nuanced consequences of tariff preferences on the behavior of exporting firms, highlighting that their effect tend to spill over other products and other markets.
We study the impact of exogenous news on the classic Bayesian persuasion problem. The sender supplies information over multiple periods, but is unable to commit at the onset to the information that she will supply in periods ahead. A tension then emerges between the sender and her future self. We show that by resolving this tension, more informative news can make the sender better off.
Elena D’Agostino & Daniel J. Seidmann, 2020. "The first and last word in debates: Plaintive plaintiffs," Discussion Papers 2020-02, Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).
Is it better to have the first or the last word in two-round debates like common law trials? If litigants always share available witnesses then they never prefer to present first (to lead), and may prefer to follow; and they never prefer to choose the order after observing the available witnesses than to always follow. Litigants can prefer to lead if they have different available witnesses because the outcomes when some litigant leads coincide with the outcomes in an alternative game where that litigant follows, but commits to its reaction function before observing its available witnesses. Leading is therefore a commitment device.
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