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Is No News (Perceived as) Bad News? An Experimental Investigation of Information Disclosure

Ginger Zhe Jin, Michael Luca, Daniel Martin

NBER Working Paper No. 21099
Issued in April 2015, Revised in May 2018
NBER Program(s):The Industrial Organization Program

This paper uses laboratory experiments to directly test a central prediction of disclosure theory: that strategic forces can lead those who possess private information to voluntarily provide it. In a simple two-person disclosure game, we find that senders disclose favorable information, but withhold less favorable information. The degree to which senders withhold information is strongly related to their stated beliefs about receiver actions, and their stated beliefs are accurate on average. Receiver actions are also strongly related to their stated beliefs, but receiver actions and beliefs suggest they are insufficiently skeptical about non-disclosed information in the absence of repeated feedback.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21099

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