EC 2018 Tutorial on Information, Persuasion and Decision Making

June 18th, 2018, 8:30am - 12:30pm
At the ACM Conference on Economics and Computation, Cornell in Ithaca.

Organizers: Bo Waggoner and Haifeng Xu.


A huge amount of economic activity and strategic behavior centers around the flow of information or its use in decisionmaking. However, research has only scratched the surface of questions such as: What is the value of information in different contexts? How and in what circumstances should one communicate (partial) information?

Our goal for this tutorial is to bring you up to speed on recent lines of work in this area; develop an understanding of the key concepts and intuition; and describe the current state of knowledge and open questions.


The tutorial has three parts, each approximately one hour. Part One covers the model of Bayesian information in decisionmaking and games. Part Two overviews recent work on defining signals to be substitutes and complements in the context of a decision problem, and its applications. Part Three overviews recent work on (algorithmic) persuasion games, a.k.a. signaling. Each part will briefly cover the key concepts, examples, applications, and open questions. This is the first incarnation of this tutorial. We will not assume prior knowledge beyond basic mathematics and probability.

More details (pdf).


8:30am - 9:30am Part 1: Decisionmaking under uncertainty
Introduces notation and covers basic concepts for understanding probabilistic information and decisionmaking. Topics include: signals, decision problems, revelation principles, Bayesian games.
9:30am - 9:40am Short break
9:40am - 10:30am Part 2: Informational substitutes and complements
Definitions and uses of the concept of substitutable and complementary pieces of information. Applications to prediction markets; open problems.
10:30am - 11:00am Coffee break (all workshops)
11:00am - 12:30pm Part 3: (Algorithmic) Persuasion
The problem of using information to influence others' decisions. Algorithmic results and economic insights; applications including mechanism design and security games.

Slides and References

References are included in the corresponding slides.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3