Using Cheap Talk to Polarize or Unify a Group of Decision Makers

38 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2017 Last revised: 21 Jun 2019

See all articles by Daeyoung Jeong

Daeyoung Jeong

Pohang University of Science and Technology

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Date Written: October 15, 2018


We develop a model of strategic information transmission from an expert with informational superiority to decision makers who vote on a proposal. We show that an expert’s simple cheap talk strategy can be surprisingly effective in persuading decision makers by polarizing or unifying their opinions. After observing the expert’s cheap talk message, decision makers may ignore their private information and vote according to the expert’s interest, even though they know the expert has her own bias. In other words, the expert’s cheap talk prevents a voting procedure from aggregating decision makers’ private information. We also discuss how our main results extend to a model of Bayesian persuasion.

Keywords: Cheap Talk, Bayesian persuasion, Voting, Polarization, Information aggregation

JEL Classification: D71, D72, D78, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Jeong, Daeyoung, Using Cheap Talk to Polarize or Unify a Group of Decision Makers (October 15, 2018). Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 180, 2019. Available at SSRN: or

Daeyoung Jeong (Contact Author)

Pohang University of Science and Technology ( email )

77 Cheongam-ro
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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