Research

Listed below are my projects, completed and preliminary. Click the paper title to see more details where available, including abstracts and all related links.



Working papers

[pdf] [RePeC] [SSRN] [BibTeX]
An earlier draft was circulated under the title "Experts, Quacks and Fortune-Tellers: Dynamic Cheap Talk with Career Concerns".
Abstract: The paper studies a dynamic communication game in the presence of adverse selection and career concerns. A forecaster of privately known competence, who cares about his reputation, chooses the timing of the forecast regarding the outcome of some future event. We find that in all equilibria in a sufficiently general class earlier reports are more credible. Further, any report hurts the forecaster’s reputation in the short run, with later reports incurring larger penalties. The reputation of a silent forecaster, on the other hand, gradually improves over time.
[pdf] [arxiv] [RePEc (older version)] [SSRN (older version)]
Abstract: This paper characterizes informational outcomes in a model of dynamic signaling with vanishing commitment power. It shows that contrary to popular belief, informative equilibria with payoff-relevant signaling can exist without requiring unreasonable off-path beliefs. The paper provides a sharp characterization of possible separating equilibria: all signaling must take place through attrition, when the weakest type mixes between revealing own type and pooling with the stronger types. The framework explored in the paper is general, imposing only minimal assumptions on payoff monotonicity and single-crossing. Applications to bargaining, monopoly price signaling, and labor market signaling are developed to demonstrate the results in specific contexts.
[pdf] [SSRN (older version)]
Abstract: This paper argues, in the context of targeted advertising, that receivers' rational inattention and ability to independently acquire information have a non-trivial impact on the sender's optimal disclosure strategy. In our model, a monopolist has an opportunity to launch an advertising campaign and chooses a targeting strategy -- which consumers to send its advertisement to. The consumers are uncertain about and heterogeneous in their valuations for the product, and are rationally inattentive in that they must incur a cost if they want to learn their true valuations. We discover that the firm generally prefers to target consumers who are either indifferent between ignoring and investigating the product, or between investigating and buying it unconditionally. If the firm is uncertain about the consumer appeal of its product, it targets these two disjoint groups of consumers simultaneously but may ignore all consumers in between.
[pdf]
Abstract: This paper shows that the principal can strictly benefit from delegating a decision to an agent whose opinion differs from that of the principal. We consider a "delegated expertise"" problem, in which the agent has an advantage in information acquisition relative to the principal, as opposed to having preexisting private information. When the principal is ex ante predisposed towards some action, it is optimal for her to hire an agent who is predisposed towards the same action, but to a smaller extent, since such an agent would acquire more information, which outweighs the bias stemming from misalignment. We show that belief misalignment between an agent and a principal is a viable instrument in delegation, performing on par with contracting and communication in a class of problems.


Work in progress

Abstract: This paper studies strategic communication in the context of social learning. Product reviews are used by consumers to learn product quality, but in order to write a review, a consumer must be convinced to purchase the item first. When reviewers care about welfare of future consumers, this leads to a conflict: a reviewer today wants the future consumers to purchase the item even when this comes at a loss to them, so that more information is revealed for the consumers that come after. We show that due to this conflict, communication via reviews is inevitably noisy in this setting, regardless of whether the reviewers can commit to a communication strategy or have to resort to cheap talk. We further show that in the latter case, the communication must necessarily have the interval structure, meaning that the noise persists even when the conflict between the reviewers and future consumers vanishes.


Published papers

[pdf] [BibTeX] [journal page]
Abstract: Sellers often have the power to censor the reviews of their products. We explore the effect of these censorship policies in markets where some consumers are unaware of possible censorship. We find that if the share of such “naive” consumers is not too large, then rational consumers treat any bad review that is revealed in equilibrium as good news about product quality. This makes bad reviews worth revealing and allows the seller to use them as a costly signal of his product's quality to rational consumers.

Media coverage: TASS (in Russian), Gazeta.ru (in Russian), Деловой Петербург/Business Petersburg (in Russian), Phys.org, Haptic.ro.


Unpublished manuscripts

[pdf - June 2013]
Abstract: This paper looks into the question of optimal design of communication network within a company. The principal trade-off in managerial decisionmaking is often identified as adaptation to local environment versus coordination with other divisions within a firm. This trade-off creates a conflict of interests between managers of different departments and prevents them from communicating truthfully with each other. We explore different communication structures in order to optimize the communication process and find out that if the divisions differ sufficiently in size and the smaller division depends heavily on coordination then sequential communication with larger firm as leader is more preferable by the firm, while with divisions of similar sizes simultaneous communication yields better performance.