Thesis: 'Essays on persuasion and strategic information transmission'
First paper - 'Snatching the Commons: Bribery and Smear Campaign in a Theory of Privatization'
I study a model in which a rich elite can smear and bribe an incumbent politician to push him into privatizing a valuable natural resource. To the voter, the resource is private infeasible: the imminent over-production under private hands (due to a profit-maximizing behaviour) would generate a negative welfare. By starting a smear campaign (a form of outside lobbying), the elite sets the reputational field in which the incumbent will take decisions. If his reputation is harmed, then his probability of being reelected decreases and his incentive to privatize increases. A successfully smeared incumbent then becomes cheaper to bribe. The paper characterizes the elite's optimal strategies, and thereby provides empirically testable predictions. Finally, by fitting the intent of reputational damage in a bayesian persuasion framework, I propose a simple way to open the black-box of outside lobbying.
Supervisors: Torun Dewan and Stephane Wolton