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When do simple policies win?

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We present a simple model of a debate between two interested parties which takes into account the complexity of their policy positions. The two debaters engage in all-pay-auctions to win slots of time/attention to present their positions to a decision-maker. Complexity of a policy is modelled through the number of slots of attention needed to get the policy across. We show that when the number of attention slots is scarce, but still large enough to allow for both sides to fully present their policies, simple policies have an advantage over more complex ones. We show that this advantage of simple policies is diminished only when the number of attention slots is fairly large and when the decision-maker is strongly persuaded by more complex policies.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/42838/

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