45 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2022 Last revised: 6 Feb 2023

See all articles by Mats Köster

Mats Köster

Central European University (CEU)

Paul Voss

HEC Paris - Finance Department; Finance Theory Group (FTG)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 6, 2023


We develop a theory of conversations. Two agents with different interests take turns choosing the topic of the conversation. Talking about a single topic allows them to delve deeper, making the conversation more informative (or enjoyable). To capture this dynamic, we assume that the marginal utility from conversing increases when the agents stay on topic. The equilibrium conversation is extreme: it either maximizes or minimizes welfare. Long conversations are deep and thus efficient. Short ones are often superficial. The topic of a deep conversation depends in subtle ways on who speaks when. Applications range from echo chambers to team production.

Keywords: Communication, Information Acquisition, Team Production

JEL Classification: D83

Suggested Citation

Köster, Mats and Voss, Paul, Conversations (February 6, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Mats Köster (Contact Author)

Central European University (CEU) ( email )

Quellenstraße 51

Paul Voss

HEC Paris - Finance Department ( email )


HOME PAGE: http://

Finance Theory Group (FTG) ( email )

United States

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