American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 6 (October 2011)


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Bayesian Persuasion

Article Citation

Kamenica, Emir, and Matthew Gentzkow. 2011. "Bayesian Persuasion." American Economic Review, 101(6): 2590-2615.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.6.2590


When is it possible for one person to persuade another to change her action? We consider a symmetric information model where a sender chooses a signal to reveal to a receiver, who then takes a noncontractible action that affects the welfare of both players. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a signal that strictly benefits the sender. We characterize sender-optimal signals. We examine comparative statics with respect to the alignment of the sender's and the receiver's preferences. Finally, we apply our results to persuasion by litigators, lobbyists, and salespeople. (JEL D72, D82, D83, K40, M31)

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Kamenica, Emir (U Chicago)
Gentzkow, Matthew (U Chicago)

JEL Classifications

D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D82: Asymmetric and Private Information
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
K40: Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior: General
M31: Marketing

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