23. Asymmetric information: silence, signaling and suffering education

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Game Theory (ECON 159)

We look at two settings with asymmetric information; one side of a game knows something that the other side does not. We should always interpret attempts to communicate or signal such information taking into account the incentives of the person doing the signaling. In the first setting, information is verifiable. Here, the failure explicitly to reveal information can be informative, and hence verifiable information tends to come out even when you don't want it to. We consider examples of such information unraveling. Then we move to unverifiable information. Here, it is hard to convey such information even if you want to. Nevertheless, differentially costly signals can sometimes provide incentives for agents with different information to distinguish themselves. In particular, we consider how the education system can allow future workers to signal their abilities. We discuss some implications of this rather pessimistic view of education.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Asymmetric Information: Signaling and Information Unraveling
16:48 - Chapter 2. Information Unraveling: Examples
35:07 - Chapter 3. Signaling: Good and Bad Workers
59:36 - Chapter 4. Signaling: Conclusions

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.