Let it Flow: Information Exchange in Video Conferences versus Face-to-Face Meetings

48 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021

See all articles by Hadar Yoana Jabotinsky

Hadar Yoana Jabotinsky

Tel Aviv University - Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law; The Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology (HJC)

Roee Sarel

Institute of Law and Economics, University of Hamburg

Date Written: April 30, 2020

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how people interact with one another. Due to social distancing policies, interactions that traditionally occur in-person have largely transitioned into virtual alternatives. This shift raises an intriguing question: are virtual communications a viable alternative for face-to-face meetings?

We investigate this experimentally by contrasting face-to-face meetings (FtF) and video conferences (VC) in the context of an information-flow task. In the experiment, the subjects need to solve a riddle based on a set of clues, which help narrow down the set of options but are not enough to solve the riddle correctly. However, each subject can invest money to increase the probability of communicating with another subject before attempting to solve the riddle. Successful communications enable subjects to easily solve the riddle, as each communicating pair holds complementary clues. Thus, if the information is exchanged effectively, subjects’ performance should be high.

Varying the medium (FtF or VC) available for communication, we find that while the performance in the task itself does not depend on the medium, subjects do display significant differences in their willingness to invest, ex-ante beliefs, and ex-post reporting on the exchange of information during communication. Particularly, age plays an important role: Younger subjects are more optimistic about the prospect of virtual meetings, but less likely to invest their endowment. We relate our findings to several real-world settings and discuss implications for legal policy.

Keywords: face-to-face, video conference, virtual teams, social distancing, COVID-19, communication, information flow

JEL Classification: D02, D23, D83, K20, O39

Suggested Citation

Jabotinsky, Hadar Yoana and Sarel, Roee, Let it Flow: Information Exchange in Video Conferences versus Face-to-Face Meetings (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3589431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3589431

Hadar Yoana Jabotinsky

Tel Aviv University - Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv, IL
Israel

The Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology (HJC) ( email )

29 Ha'Oren St.
P.O Box 80
Timrat, 23840
Israel

Roee Sarel (Contact Author)

Institute of Law and Economics, University of Hamburg ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
243
Abstract Views
766
rank
152,147
PlumX Metrics