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Don’t tell us: the demand for secretive behaviour

Pierre Salmon

LEG - Document de travail - Economie from LEG, Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne

Abstract: The matter studied here is how, and with what implications, people may decide that they do not want to be let into secrets that concern them. They could get the information at no cost but they refuse to know. The reasoning is framed in terms of principals and agents, with the principals assumed not to want to know the agents’ secrets. For convenience, the context chosen for the exposition is mainly that of voters as principals and the government or the office-holders as agents. After some exploration of the motivations underlying the attitude of the principals, the paper focuses on the case when neither total secrecy nor total disclosure prevails. The demand for partial secrecy is analysed with the help of two models, one devoted to ongoing processes and the other to past events. Finally the paper discusses some of the ways the “don’t tell us mechanism” may interact with two others: “thinking about something else” and “low issue salience”.

Keywords: secrets; transparency; asymmetric information; voluntary ignorance; voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 D72 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 20 pages
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Related works:
Working Paper: Don't tell us: the demand for secretive bahaviour (2009)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:lat:legeco:e2009-10

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