Complicating to Persuade?
Complexity inflation, Certification, Persuasion, Strategic information transmission, Signaling games
This paper addresses a common criticism of certification processes: that they simultaneously generate excessive complexity, insufficient scrutiny and high rates of undue validation. We build a model of persuasion in which low and high types pool on their choice of complexity. A natural criterion based on forward induction selects the high-type optimal pooling equilibrium.When the receiver prefers rejection ex ante, the sender simplifies her report. When the receiver prefers validation ex ante, however, more complexity makes the receiver less selective, and we provide sufficient conditions that lead to complexity inflation in equilibrium.