Maxim Senkov

I am a PhD candidate at CERGE-EI in Prague. I am participating in the 2022–2023 academic job market.

I am an applied economic theorist using game theory and probability theory to address questions in information economics.

Research interests: information design, costly information acquisition, dynamic incentive problems.

References:

Jan Zápal (CERGE-EI, Chair),

Ole Jann (CERGE-EI),

Inés Moreno de Barreda (Oxford),

Filip Matějka (CERGE-EI)

Curriculum Vitae

email: msenkov(at)cerge-ei(dot)cz

Job market paper

Setting Interim Deadlines to Persuade

Abstract.

A principal funds a multistage project and retains the right to cut the funding if it stagnates at some point. An agent wants to convince the principal to fund the project as long as possible, and can design the flow of information about the progress of the project in order to persuade the principal. If the project is sufficiently promising ex ante, then the agent commits to providing only the good news that the project is accomplished. If the project is not promising enough ex ante, the agent persuades the principal to start the funding by committing to provide not only good news but also the bad news that a project milestone has not been reached by an interim deadline. I demonstrate that the outlined structure of optimal information disclosure holds irrespective of the agent’s profit share, benefit from the flow of funding, and the common discount rate.

Working papers

Optimally Biased Expertise (with Andrei Matveenko, Pavel Ilinov, and Egor Starkov)

Abstract.

This paper shows that the principal can strictly benefit from delegating a decision to an agent whose opinion differs from that of the principal. We consider a "delegated expertise" problem, in which the agent has an advantage in information acquisition relative to the principal, as opposed to having preexisting private information. When the principal is ex ante predisposed towards some action, it is optimal for her to hire an agent who is predisposed towards the same action, but to a smaller extent, since such an agent would acquire more information, which outweighs the bias stemming from misalignment. We show that belief misalignment between an agent and a principal is a viable instrument in delegation, performing on par with contracting and communication in a class of problems.


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

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.

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.