Strategic Behavior and the Environment > Vol 8 > Issue 1

Rational Skeptics: On the Strategic Communication of Scientific Data

Youngseok Park, Department of Economics, Colby College, USA,
Suggested Citation
Youngseok Park (2019), "Rational Skeptics: On the Strategic Communication of Scientific Data", Strategic Behavior and the Environment: Vol. 8: No. 1, pp 73-97.

Publication Date: 24 May 2019
© 2019 Y. Park
Environmental economics,  Economic theory
JEL Codes: D72D83H89Q48Q54
Climate changestrategic communicationskepticismdemocracyelectoral concernssocial welfare


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. The Model 
3. Other Extensions 
4. Conclusions 


I study how social welfare depends on strategic communication between a scientist and a policymaker and examine how the policymaker responds to electoral concerns using Crawford and Sobel’s classic model. Defining the social welfare to be the welfare of representative agents, whose preferences may be different from those of the policymaker and/or the scientist, I find that ex-ante social welfare is maximized, regardless of the preferences of the representative agent, if and only if the preferences of both the policymaker and the scientist are perfectly aligned. Communication is deliberately distorted by the policymaker when he has electoral concerns in a democracy