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Dynamic Information Design: A Simple Problem on Optimal Sequential Information Disclosure

Farzaneh Farhadi () and Demosthenis Teneketzis ()
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Farzaneh Farhadi: University of Michigan
Demosthenis Teneketzis: University of Michigan

Dynamic Games and Applications, 2022, vol. 12, issue 2, No 5, 443-484

Abstract: Abstract We study a dynamic information design problem in a finite-horizon setting consisting of two strategic and long-term optimizing agents, namely a principal (he) and a detector (she). The principal observes the evolution of a Markov chain that has two states, one “good” and one “bad” absorbing state, and has to decide how to sequentially disclose information to the detector. The detector’s only information consists of the messages she receives from the principal. The detector’s objective is to detect as accurately as possible the time of the jump from the good to the bad state. The principal’s objective is to delay the detector as much as possible from detecting the jump to the bad state. For this setting, we determine the optimal strategies of the principal and the detector. The detector’s optimal strategy is described by time-varying thresholds on her posterior belief of the good state. We prove that it is optimal for the principal to give no information to the detector before a time threshold, run a mixed strategy to confuse the detector at the threshold time, and reveal the true state afterward. We present an algorithm that determines both the optimal time threshold and the optimal mixed strategy that could be employed by the principal. We show, through numerical experiments, that this optimal sequential mechanism outperforms any other information disclosure strategy presented in the literature. We also show that our results can be extended to the infinite-horizon problem, to the problem where the matrix of transition probabilities of the Markov chain is time-varying, and to the case where the Markov chain has more than two states and one of the states is absorbing.

Keywords: Information design; Bayesian persuasion; Strategic agents; Quickest detection problem (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s13235-021-00392-1

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