Persuasion versus Presentation

66 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2024

See all articles by Carl Heese

Carl Heese

The University of Hong Kong

Shuo Liu

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Date Written: December 31, 2023


In many economic situations, people communicate strategically not only to influence the decision-making of their audience but also to shape the perception of certain unobserved characteristics of themselves (e.g. morality, loyalty, or capability). To study such situations, we propose a model of Bayesian persuasion in which a sender endowed with a private type designs the communication about a payoff-relevant state to a receiver. The sender, concerned with both the impacts on the receiver's action and how her type is perceived, aims to strike a balance between persuasion and self-presentation under optimal communication. Whether the receiver fares better or worse compared to the pure persuasion setting may depend on the selected equilibrium, and the welfare effects can be non-monotone with respect to the relative strength of the sender's different motives. We illustrate our findings within various classic payoff environments, for instance with quadratic losses or state-independent sender preferences. Finally, we use the model to shed new light on a wide range of applications.

Keywords: image concerns, persuasion, self-presentation, signaling

JEL Classification: C72, D72, D82, M50

Suggested Citation

Heese, Carl and Liu, Shuo, Persuasion versus Presentation (December 31, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Carl Heese

The University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, HK

Shuo Liu (Contact Author)

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871

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