When a speaker communicates with several audiences, the correct interpretation of the speaker's message requires an understanding of her incentives vis-a-vis all audiences. We hypothesize that, when confronted with this inference problem, receivers tend to neglect the extent to which a speaker also speaks to other audiences. Such coaudience neglect will lead receivers whose incentives are aligned with the speaker's to be too trusting and receivers who are at odds with the speaker to be too skeptical. We present the results of an experiment in which subjects play a simple disclosure game between a sender and two receivers. We find that receivers exhibit coaudience neglect and that senders expect this.
Georg Weizsäcker is a behavioral economist and professor of microeconomics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He works on diverse topics of economics and with methods that include experiments, surveys and microeconomic theory. He received his PhD at Harvard and has subsequently worked at LSE and UCL in London, as Lecturer, Reader, and Professor. Georg will be a visitor in the FAS Economics Department until March 2022.
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