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Essays in Microeconomic Theory /


In the first chapter, we examine the tradeoffs that news organizations face between speed and accuracy in information provision. Journalists complain that the quality of news coverage is declining because of tradeoffs they face between speed and accuracy. We examine this tradeoff in a model where two players value being accurate, but also value being the first to report. Although delay allows players to improve the accuracy of their reports, we characterize equilibria and provide conditions for when competitive preemption concerns cause players to report without evidence. We explore the impact of competition on the quality of information provided, and consider the effectiveness of waiting periods in improving outcomes. The second chapter presents a model where a firm attempts to persuade a customer to purchase a product by committing to a message strategy, but does not know the customer's beliefs about the product's quality. We examine three contracting settings - firms can attach transfers to signals, purely wasteful costs, or condition transfers on the customer's purchase decision. We show that the optimal mechanism in each setting never provides information for free, and that customers with extreme beliefs are effectively denied any useful information. The third chapter presents a model of voter turnout, where some individuals vote because they are motivated by a civic duty to do so while others may vote because they wish to appear pro-social to others. It proposes a simple framework that captures these motivations, and provides results consistent with findings on turnout, e.g. that turnout is responsive to the expected closeness and importance of an election, to the observability of one's choice to vote, and to social rewards and punishments associated with voting. We study various extensions of this framework in which community monitoring plays a role, and explore the implications that voter mobilization has for electoral competition

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