Essays in Information Economics
This thesis consists of three essays in the field of information economics. The first essay studies manipulation of information by partisan media. The recent increase in partisan media has generated interest in what drives media outlets to become more partisan. I develop a model to study the role of diffusion of information by word of mouth. In the model, a media outlet designs an information policy, which specifies the level of partisan slant in the outlet’s news reports. The news spread via a communication chain in a population of agents with heterogeneous preferences. The slant has an impact on whether the agents find the news credible and on their incentives to pass the news to others. The analysis elucidates how partisanship of media can be driven by political polarisation of the public and by the tendency of people to interact with people with similar political views. The second essay, co-authored by Jakub Redlicki, investigates falsification of scientific evidence by interest groups. We analyse a game between a biased sender (an interest group) and a decision maker (a policy maker) where the former can falsify scientific evidence at a cost. The sender observes scientific evidence and knows that it will also be observed by the decision maker unless he falsifies it. If he falsifies, then there is a chance that the decision maker observes the falsified evidence rather than the true scientific evidence. First, we investigate the decision maker’s incentives to privately acquire independent evidence, which not only provides additional information to her but can also strengthen or weaken the sender’s falsification effort. Second, we analyse the decision maker’s incentives to acquire information from the sender. The third essay analyses competition between interest groups for access to a policy maker. I study a model of lobbying in which two privately-informed experts (e.g., interest groups) with opposite goals compete for the opportunity to communicate with a policy maker. The main objective is to analyse the benefits which competition for access brings to the policy maker as opposed to hiring an expert in advance. I show that competition for access is advantageous in that it provides the policy maker with some information about the expert who did not gain access and gives the experts an incentive to invest in their communication skills. On the other hand, hiring an expert in advance allows the policy maker to use a monetary reward to incentivise the expert to invest more in his communication skills.