Shooting the Messenger? Supply and Demand in Markets for Willful Ignorance

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2019-071/I

48 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2019

See all articles by Shaul Shalvi

Shaul Shalvi

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Ivan Soraperra

University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED)

Joel J. van der Weele

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and political Decision making (CREED); Tinbergen Institute; Center for Financial Studies (CFS)

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Global Labor Organization (GLO)

Date Written: October 2, 2019

Abstract

We investigate the role of advisers in the transmission of ethically relevant information, a critical aspect of executive decision making in organizations. In our laboratory experiment, advisers are informed about the negative externalities associated with the decision-maker's choices and compete with other advisers. We find that advisers suppress about a quarter of "inconvenient'' information. Suppression is not strategic, but based on the advisers' own preferences in the ethical dilemma. On the demand side, a substantial minority of decision makers avoid advisers who transmit inconvenient information (they "shoot the messenger"). Overall, by facilitating assortative matching, a competitive market for advisers efficiently caters to the demand for both information and information avoidance. Decision-makers are less likely to implement their preferred option when they are randomly matched to advisers and there is no scope for assortative matching.

Keywords: self-deception, information avoidance, unethical behavior, experiment

JEL Classification: D91, C91, D83, D82

Suggested Citation

Shalvi, Shaul and Soraperra, Ivan and van der Weele, Joel J. and Villeval, Marie Claire, Shooting the Messenger? Supply and Demand in Markets for Willful Ignorance (October 2, 2019). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2019-071/I. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464224 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3464224

Shaul Shalvi (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/morallabshalvi/

Ivan Soraperra

University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED) ( email )

Faculty of Economics and Econometrics
Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Joel J. Van der Weele

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and political Decision making (CREED) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/joelvdweele/

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS ( email )

93, chemin des Mouilles
Ecully, 69130
France
+33 472 86 60 79 (Phone)
+33 472 86 60 90 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.gate.cnrs.fr/equipe/perso/villeval/villeval.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

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