Maxim Senkov

I am a PhD student at CERGE-EI in Prague. I am an applied economic theorist.


I use game theory and probability theory to address questions in information economics. My primary research interests include Bayesian persuasion, costly information acquisition, and cheap talk.

My supervisor is Jan Zápal.


Curriculum Vitae

Email: msenkov@cerge-ei.cz

Working papers


Form of Preference Misalignment Linked to State-Pooling Structure in Bayesian Persuasion (with Rastislav Rehak) (Poster) - Submitted

Abstract.

We study a Bayesian persuasion model in which the state space is finite, the sender and the receiver have state-dependent quadratic loss functions, and their disagreement regarding the preferred action is of arbitrary form. This framework enables us to focus on the understudied sender's trade-off between the informativeness of the signal and the concealment of the state-dependent disagreement about the preferred action. In particular, we study which states are pooled together in the supports of posteriors of the optimal signal. We provide an illustrative graph procedure that takes the form of preference misalignment and outputs potential representations of the state-pooling structure. Our model provides insights into situations in which the sender and the receiver care about two different but connected issues, for example, the interaction of a political advisor who cares about the state of the economy with a politician who cares about the political situation.

Setting Interim Deadlines to Persuade - Draft available upon request

Abstract.

The paper studies the optimal design of self-reporting on the progress of the project by a rent-seeking agent reporting to the principal concerned with accomplishing the project before an exogenous deadline. The project has two stages: completing the first one signals a milestone and completing the second one accomplishes the project. The agent commits to a dynamic mechanism that provides obedient recommendations to stop funding the project for the principal. When the normalized cost-benefit ratio of the project is low, the optimal mechanism recommends stopping after the completion of the second stage and provides no information regarding the completion of the first stage. When the normalized cost-benefit ratio of the project is sufficiently high, the optimal mechanism combines stopping after the completion of the second stage and an interim deadline. At the interim deadline, the mechanism recommends stopping if the first stage has not been completed yet.

Persuading a Receiver With a Simplistic Worldview

Abstract.

In a persuasion model, we show that the receiver's ignorance regarding the correlation between the dimensions of the state of the world can benefit her. The receiver chooses a binary action and the preferences of the sender and receiver regarding that choice depend on different dimensions of the two-dimensional state of the world. The receiver has a “simplistic worldview”: her prior belief is such that she perceives the two dimensions of the state of the world as independent when they are correlated. We characterize the condition on state of the world distribution that pins down if the posterior of the receiver with a simplistic worldview is either less or more optimistic than the true one. Receiver's simplistic worldview either restricts or expands what sender can do and induces a welfare redistribution either from sender to receiver or from receiver to sender, respectively.

When Bias is Useful: Delegation to a Rationally Inattentive Agent (with Andrei Matveenko, Pavel Ilinov, and Egor Starkov) (Slides)

Abstract.

Principal needs to delegate a decision under uncertainty to an agent and chooses among the candidates who differ in their prior beliefs. Prior to making the decision, agents can flexibly acquire costly information. We show that the principal benefits from delegation when the agent has a slightly more skeptical belief than the principal. In the “find the best alternative” setting, we demonstrate that principal can implement optimal choice probabilities not only using bias in the agent’s beliefs, but also using bias in the agent’s alternative-specific preferences. However, this equivalence result need not hold in a more general problem formulation.