More than words: the effects of cheap talk in a volunteer’s dilemma
Feldhaus C, Stauf J
© 2015, Economic Science Association. We theoretically and experimentally investigate a game in which exactly one person should make a costly effort to achieve a socially efficient outcome. This setting is commonly known as the volunteer’s dilemma. We implement one-way communication by allowing one player to send a message indicating whether she intends to volunteer and investigate the message’s effects on behavior and efficiency in the subsequent game. We theoretically demonstrate that there are asymmetric mixed-strategy equilibria in the volunteer’s dilemma and argue that one of these is likely to emerge through one-way communication. The experimental data support this notion. We find that the actions of both the sender and receiver of the message are crucially affected by the cheap talk stage and that efficiency in the volunteer’s dilemma increases with one-way communication.