Communication for Public Goods

Kohei Kawamura

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


This paper studies information transmission between multiple agents with different preferences and a welfare maximizing decision maker who chooses the quality or quantity of a public good (e.g. provision of public health service; carbon emissions policy; pace of lectures in a classroom) that is consumed by all of them. Communication in such circumstances suffers from the agents' incentive to 'exaggerate' their preferences relative to the average of the other agents, since the decision maker's reaction to each agent's message is weaker than in one-to-one communication. As the number of agents becomes larger the quality of information transmission diminishes. The use of binary messages (e.g. 'yes' or 'no') is shown to be a robust mode of communication when the main source of informational distortion is exaggeration.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Publication series

NameESE Discussion Papers


  • communication
  • public good provision
  • cheap talk
  • committee
  • non-binding referendum
  • D71
  • D82
  • H41


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