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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter shows how contest and rent-seeking functions can be thought of as persuasion functions that can be derived in a Bayesian setting. Two contestants (such as lobbyists or politicians) produce evidence for a decision maker (such as an agency head or a voter) who has prior beliefs and possibly other biases and engages in Bayesian updating. The probability of each contestant winning depends on the resources and organization of the contestant, on the biases of the decision maker, and on the truth, as well as other factors. This chapter discusses how this approach can be applied to lobbying government at its three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial, the latter in terms of litigation), political campaigning, general policy formulation and advocacy in the wider media, and ideological struggles.

Keywords: leadership, credible communication, sender-receiver games, contests, lobbying, rent seeking

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