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A Failure to Communicate: An Experimental Investigation of the Effects of Advice on Strategic Play*

By David C. Cooper and John H. Kagel


We study how advice affects the development of strategic play in a signaling game. Being paired with an advisor who plays strategically significantly increases strategic play by advisees, but far from guarantees that advisees will act strategically. In spite of substantial financial incentives, many advisors who play strategically do not provide advice to this effect. This is especially common for female advisors. We hypothesize that this gender difference reflects lower confidence by women, a conjecture consistent with several other features of the data. Also contributing to weak performance by advisees are frequent failures to heed advice to play strategically

Topics: Key words, advice, gender effects, strategic play, signaling games, truth wins JEL classification, C72
Year: 2013
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