Working paper 99/007 - Abstract

Rush, Delay and the Money Burning Refinement in Political Signalling Games

Hans Gersbach

Alfred Weber Institut, University of Heidelburg

We consider an equilibrium refinement in signalling games by allowing agents to perform costly tests of beliefs by burning money. We apply the refinement in a model where the public is unsure about the ability of an agent, such as a government, to foresee the effects of long-term decisions. Agents with much information about the consequences of decisions should invest either immediately or never. Poorly informed agents should wait for better information. We identify pooling equilibria in which excessive rush or waiting occurs. The burning money refinement eliminates rash and waiting distortions, but it implies wasting money and, for high discount factors, a decrease in welfare. We also identify the conditions under which the public should allow the agent to burn the public's money.

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