EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

A Conversational War of Attrition

Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn, Lones Smith and Katalin Bognar

Review of Economic Studies, 2018, vol. 85, issue 3, 1897-1935

Abstract: We explore costly deliberation by two differentially informed and possibly biased jurors: A hawk Lones and a dove Moritz alternately insist on a verdict until one concedes. Debate assumes one of two genres, depending on bias: A juror, say Lones, is intransigent if he wishes to prevail and reach a conviction for any type of Moritz next to concede. In contrast, Lones is ambivalent if he wants the strongest conceding types of Moritz to push for acquittal. Both jurors are ambivalent with small bias or high delay costs. As Lones grows more hawkish, he argues more forcefully for convictions, mitigating wrongful acquittals. If dovish Moritz is intransigent, then he softens (strategic substitutes), leading to more wrongful convictions. Ambivalent debate is new, and yields a novel dynamic benefit of increased polarization. For if Moritz is ambivalent, then he toughens (strategic complements), and so, surprisingly, a more hawkish Lones leads to fewer wrongful acquittals and convictions. So more polarized but balanced debate can improve communication, unlike in static cheap talk. We also show that patient and not too biased jurors vote against their posteriors near the end of the debate, optimally playing devil’s advocate. We shed light on the adversarial legal system, peremptory challenges, and cloture rules.

Keywords: Cheap talk; Committee decision making; Pivot voting; Juries; Adversarial system; Peremptory challenges; Debate; Deliberation; Polarization; Devil’s advocate; Monotone comparative statics; War of attrition; Non-linear difference equations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 D72 D82 D83 C62 C72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdx073 (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:3:p:1897-1935.

Access Statistics for this article

Review of Economic Studies is currently edited by Andrea Prat, Bruno Biais, Kjetil Storesletten and Enrique Sentana

More articles in Review of Economic Studies from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().

 
Page updated 2019-01-19
Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:3:p:1897-1935.