Too Cool for School? Signaling and Countersignaling
34 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2001
Date Written: March 2001
In signaling environments ranging from consumption to education, high quality senders often shun the standard signals that should separate them from lower quality senders. We find that allowing for additional, noisy information on sender quality permits equilibria where medium types signal to separate themselves from low types, but high types then choose to not signal or "countersignal". High types not only save costs by relying on the additional information to stochastically separate them from low types, but countersignaling itself is a signal of confidence which separates high types from medium types. Experimental results confirm that subjects can learn to countersignal.
Keywords: signaling, countersignaling, confidence, understatement
JEL Classification: C72, D82, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation