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Demanding or Deferring? The Economic Value of Communication with Attitude

Siyu Wang and Daniel Houser ()

No 1052, Working Papers from George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Abstract: This paper investigates why cheap-talk natural language communication is systematically found to promote coordination better than predetermined intention signaling. We hypothesize the reason is that, when communicating with natural language, people both use and respond to intentions and attitudes, where attitude indicates the strength of a message sender’s desire to have her message followed. We test our hypothesis using controlled laboratory experiments in both the United States and China. We find (i) free-form messages do include both signaled intentions and attitudes; (ii) people respond both to intentions and attitudes when making decisions; and (iii) the use of attitude significantly improves coordination. Moreover, while males and females recognize and respond to intentions and attitudes equally well, we find females are more likely to send more demanding signals than males, while males send messages focused more on the equilibrium outcome than attitude. Length: 45

Keywords: communication; coordination; experiment; attitude; gender (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gth and nep-mic
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