Jacopo Perego

576 Kravis Hall
665 W 130th St
New York, NY 10027
jacopo.perego@columbia.edu

Curriculum Vitae

I am the "Class of 1967" Associate Professor of Economics (without tenure) at Columbia Business School, an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Economics at Columbia University, and a CEPR research affiliate.

I earned my Ph.D. from NYU in 2017. I was a Cowles postdoc at Yale in 2017-18. I have been at Columbia since 2018-19.

I work on information economics: I study markets for information, the optimal design of information, and more broadly communication. My work has applications in industrial organization, political economy, and organizational economics. I am primarily a theorist with a secondary interest in experimental methods.

Published and Forthcoming Papers

Joint work with S. Galperti. American Economic Association P&P, 2023, Vol 113

Abstract: How does protecting the privacy of consumers affect the value of their personal data? We model an intermediary that uses consumers' data to influence the price set by a seller. When privacy is protected, consumers choose whether to disclose their data to the intermediary. When privacy is not protected, the intermediary can access consumers' data without their consent. We illustrate that protecting consumers' privacy has complex effects. It can increase the value of some consumers' data while decreasing that of others. Additionally, it can have redistributive effects, by benefiting some consumers at the expense of others. Furthermore, it can increase average prices and reduce trade.

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Joint work with S. Galperti and A. Levkun. Review of Economic Studies, 2023, Vol 90-5

Abstract: Many e-commerce platforms use buyers' personal data to intermediate their transactions with sellers. How much value do such intermediaries derive from the data record of each single individual? We characterize this value and find that one of its key components is a novel externality between records, which arises when the intermediary pools some records to withhold the information they contain. Ignoring this can significantly bias the evaluations of data records. Our analysis has several implications about compensating individuals for the use of their data, guiding companies' investments in data acquisition, and more broadly studying the demand side of data markets. Our method combines modern information design with classic duality theory and applies to a large class of principal-agent problems.

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Joint work with G. Frechette and A. Lizzeri. Econometrica, 2022, Vol 90-5

Abstract: We study the role of commitment in communication and its interactions with rules, which determine whether information is verifiable. Our framework nests models of cheap talk, information disclosure, and Bayesian persuasion. It predicts that commitment has opposite effects on information transmission under the two alternative rules. We leverage these contrasting forces to experimentally establish that subjects react to commitment in line with the main qualitative implications of the theory. Quantitatively, not all subjects behave as predicted. We show that a form of commitment blindness leads some senders to over communicate when information is verifiable and under communicate when it is not. This generates an unpredicted gap in information transmission across the two rules, suggesting a novel role for verifiable information in practice.

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Joint work with Sevgi Yuksel. Econometrica, 2022, Vol 90-1

Abstract: We study the competitive provision and endogenous acquisition of political information. Our main result identifies a natural equilibrium channel through which a more competitive market decreases the efficiency of policy outcomes. A critical insight we put forward is that competition among information providers leads to informational specialization: firms provide relatively less information on issues that are of common interest and relatively more information on issues on which agents' preferences are heterogeneous. This enables agents to acquire information about different aspects of the policy, specifically, those that are particularly important to them. This leads to an increase in social disagreement, which has negative welfare implications. We establish that, in large enough societies, competition makes every agent worse off by decreasing the utility that she derives from the policy outcome. Furthermore, we show that this decline cannot be compensated by the decrease in prices resulting from competition.

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Joint work with L. Mathevet and I. Taneva. Journal of Political Economy, 2020, Vol. 128-4.

Abstract: Information provision in games influences behavior by affecting agents' beliefs about the state, as well as their higher-order beliefs. We first characterize the extent to which a designer can manipulate agents' beliefs by disclosing information. We then describe the structure of optimal belief distributions, including a concave-envelope representation that subsumes the single-agent result of Kamenica and Gentzkow (2011). This result holds under various solution concepts and outcome selection rules. Finally, we use our approach to compute an optimal information structure in an investment game under adversarial equilibrium selection.

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Working Papers

Joint work with Simone Galperti.Revise & Resubmit at Theoretical Economics

Abstract: We study equilibrium behavior in incomplete-information games under two information constraints: seeds and spillovers. The former restricts which agents can initially receive information. The latter specifies how this information spills over to other agents. Our main result characterizes the equilibrium outcomes under these constraints, without making additional assumptions about the agents' initial information. This involves deriving a “revelation-principle” result for settings in which a mediator cannot communicate directly or privately with the agents. Our model identifies which spillovers are more restrictive and which seeds are more influential. Moreover, it generates predictions that hold robustly under a general class of spillover processes, which includes strategic communication. We apply our results to a problem of optimal organization design.

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Joint work with Simone Galperti and Tianhao Liu Extended abstract in
Proceedings of ACM EC, 2024

Abstract: We study competitive data markets in which consumers own their personal data and can trade it with intermediaries, such as e-commerce platforms. Intermediaries use this data to provide services to the consumers, such as targeted offers from third-party merchants. Our main results identify a novel inefficiency, resulting in equilibrium data allocations that fail to maximize welfare. This inefficiency hinges on the role that intermediaries play as information gatekeepers, a hallmark of the digital economy. We provide three solutions to this market failure: establishing data unions, which manage consumers' data on their behalf; taxing the trade of data; and letting the price of data depend on its intended use.

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Joint work with A. Farina, G. Frechette, and A. Lizzeri.

Abstract: We conduct a systematic test of the theory of selective disclosure. An informed sender seeks to influence an uninformed receiver by disclosing pieces of evidence. While the disclosed evidence is verifiable, the sender may select it from a larger pool of available evidence, known only to her. Our experimental design exploits the rich comparative-static predictions that result from varying the quantity of evidence available to the sender and how much of it can be disclosed to the receiver. Our findings corroborate the key qualitative predictions of the theory, thereby offering empirical support for selective disclosure as a significant force in communication. We also uncover two quantitative departures from the theory: Some senders persistently communicate more than predicted, and receivers partially neglect that the disclosed evidence is selected.

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Joint work with Sevgi Yuksel.

Abstract: We study a dynamic learning model in which heterogeneously connected Bayesian players choose between two activities: learning from one's own experience (work) or learning from the experience of others (search). Players who work produce an inflow of information which is local and dispersed around the society. Players who search, instead, aggregate the information produced by others and facilitate its diffusion, thereby transforming what inherently is a private good into information that everyone can access more easily. The structure of social connections affects the interaction between equilibrium information production and its social diffusion in ways that are complex and subtle. We show that increasing the connectivity of the society can lead to a strict decrease in the quality of social information. We link these inefficiencies to frictions in peer-to-peer communications. Moreover, we find that the socially optimal allocation of learning activities can differ dramatically from the equilibrium one. Under certain conditions, the planner would flip the equilibrium allocation, forcing highly connected players to work, and moderately connected ones to search. We conclude with an application that studies how resilient a society is to external manipulation of public opinion through changes in the meeting technology.

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Work in Progress

Joint work with A. Lizzeri and Yichuan Lou.

Abstract: We study a sender-receiver communication game with quadratic preferences and an additive sender bias. When the sender can communicate only through verifiable but noisy information and her bias is small, we show that complete information unraveling is not an equilibrium and that more informative equilibria exist. In these equilibria, the sender uses silence not to hide information from the receiver but to communicate that the information she has, while verifiabile, is misleading. Thus, mandating disclosure hurts the receiver in these cases. We then enrich our baseline model by allowing the sender to also communicate by using unverifiable information. We illustrate how verifiable and unverifiable information can complement each other and that this complementarity is maximal for moderately biased senders.