Informational environments are largely endogenous. They can be, and often are, chosen or designed by individuals or organizations with specific objectives in mind. As recognized by a large literature in economics, information plays a crucial role in shaping the outcome of downstream decisions by strategic players (i.e. at the receiving end of informative signals). However, the structure of information also impacts decisions by strategic agents upstream of the generation of signals, as agents mould the underlying reality differently depending on how other players will eventually be informed about it. Finally, designed information production systems are susceptible to manipulations by third party agents pursuing their own interests.
I will seek to further our understanding of socially or privately optimal information designs, how they shape upstream and downstream decisions, how they can be manipulated by private interests, and how to best anticipate and counter such manipulations. I will rely on the analysis of a largely unexplored designer-agent-receiver class of games, in which the designer picks an information generation system, the agent takes an upstream decision affecting the states of the world, or manipulates the production of information, and receivers choose downstream actions based on realized signals.
The project is organized around the different technologies available to the agent. I will consider fake news production, which is the fabrication of signals that pass as informative but are in fact independent of the truth; state falsification, which consists in falsifying the state of the world, or feeding the information production process with falsified data; pure agency, which is the possibility for the agent to secretly deviate to a different but undistinguishable information generation technology; and state shifting, which is the upstream effort an agent can exert to actually transform the probability distribution of states of the world.
Fields of science
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