Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Schipper, Burkhard

Ed. by Fong, Yuk-fai / Peeters, Ronald / Puzzello , Daniela / Rivas, Javier / Wenzelburger, Jan


IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.173
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.248

CiteScore 2018: 0.24

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.163
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.186

Mathematical Citation Quotient (MCQ) 2018: 0.08

Online
ISSN
1935-1704
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Vagueness of Language: Indeterminacy under Two-Dimensional State-Uncertainty

Saori ChibaORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3091-3583
Published Online: 2019-10-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejte-2018-0093

Abstract

We study indeterminacy of indicative meanings (disagreements about meanings of messages among players), a kind of language vagueness examined in Blume and Board (2013. “Language Barriers.” Econometrica 81 (2): 781–812). They, using a cheap talk model in which the state-distribution and the players’ language competence were ex-ante uncertain, demonstrated that this vagueness occurs as an equilibrium language. We expand the work of Blume and Board by using a model between an uninformed decision maker and an informed agent in which the state-distribution and the state are both ex-ante uncertain. We show that this two-dimensional uncertainty also leads to indeterminacy of indicative meanings, that is, to a set of conditions in which an agent with different perceptions of the state-distribution intentionally uses the same symbol for the different extents of information on the state. The vagueness, contrary to common expectations, can actually lead to welfare improvement.

Keywords: information; language; state-uncertainty; vagueness

JEL Classification: D82; D83; M14

References

  • Arrow, Kenneth J. 1974. The Limits of Organization. New York, NY: W. W. North & Co.

  • Aumann, Robert J. 1976. “Agreeing to Disagree.” The Annals of Statistics 4 (6): 1236–39.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Blume, Andreas, Oliver Board, and Kohei Kawamura. 2007. “Noisy Talk,” Theoretical Economics 2: 395–440.Google Scholar

  • Blume, Andreas, and Oliver Board. 2013. “Language Barriers.” Econometrica 81 (2): 781–812.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Blume, Andreas, and Oliver Board. 2014. “Intentional Vagueness,” Erkenntnis 79 (S4): 855–99.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Che, Yeon-Koo, and Navin Kartik. 2009. “Opinions as Incentives,” Journal of Political Economy 117 (5): 815–60.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Chiba, Saori. 2014. Extensions and Vagueness of Language under Two-Dimensional State Uncertainty. Department of Management, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia WP No.20/2014.

  • Chiba, Saori, and Kaiwen Leong. 2013. “Cheap Talk with Outside Options.” Department of Management, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia WP No.16/2013.

  • Crawford, Vincent P., and Joel Sobel. 1982. “Strategic Information Transmission.” Econometrica 50 (6): 1431–51.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Crémer, Jacques, Luis Garicano, and Andrea Prat. 2007. “Language and the Theory of the Firm.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 122 (1): 373–407.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • De Jaegher, Kris. 2003. “A Game-Theoretic Rationale for Vagueness,” Linguistics and Philosophy 26: 637–59.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • De Jaegher, Kris, and Robert van Rooij. 2011. “Strategic Vagueness, and Appropriate Context,” In Language, Games, and Evolution: Trends in Current Research on Language and Game Theory, 13, edited by Anton Benz, Christian Ebert, Gerhard Jäger, Robert van Rooij, 40–59. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

  • Fine, Kit. 1975. “Vagueness, Truth and Logic.” Synthese 30: 265–300.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Franke, Michael, Gerhard Jäger, & Robert van Rooij. 2011. “Vagueness, Signaling and Bounded Rationality.” New Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6797: 45–59.

  • Kawamura, Kohei. 2013. “Eliciting information from a large population,” Journal of Public Economics 103: 44–54.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Keefe, Rosanna, and Peter Smith. 1997. Vagueness: A Reader. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Knight, Frank. 1921. Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. Kissimmee, FL: Signalman Publishing.Google Scholar

  • Lambie-Hanson, Timothy, and Giri Parameswaran. 2015. “A Model of Vague Communication.” mimeo.

  • Lewis, David. 1969. Convention: A Philosophical Study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Lim, Wooyoung, and Qinggong Wu. 2018. “Vague Language and Context Dependence.” mimeo.

  • Lipman, Barton. 2002. “Language and Economics.” mimeo.

  • Lipman, Barton. 2009 “Why is Language Vague?” mimeo.

  • March, James G., and Herbert A. Simon. 1958. Organizations. New York, NY: John Wiley.Google Scholar

  • Morgan, John, and Phillip C. Stocken. 2008. “Information Aggregation in Polls.” American Economic Review 98 (3): 864–96.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Myerson, Roger B. 1991. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • O’Connor, Cailin. 2014. “The Evolution of Vagueness.” Erkenntnis 79 (4): 707–27.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Parameswaran, Giri, and Timothy Lambie-Hanson. 2016. “Imperfect Perception and Vagueness.” mimeo.

  • Peirce, Charles S. 1902. “Vague.” In Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, editd by J. M. Baldwin, 748. New York, NY: MacMillan.

  • Rubinstein, Ariel. 2000. Economics and Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Sides, John, Daron R. Shaw, Matt Grossmann, and Keena Lipsitz. 2015. Campaigns and Elections. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

  • Snook, Scott A. 2000. The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Sorensen, Roy A. 2001. Vagueness and Contradiction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. 1974. “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” Science 185: 1124–31.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Van den Steen, Eric. 2010. “Interpersonal Authority in a Theory of the Firm.” American Economic Review 100 (1): 466–90.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Warglien, Massimo. 2013. “Language and Organizations.” In Handbook of Economic Organization: Integrating Economic and Organization Theory, edited by Anna Grandori, 137–56. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

  • Williamson, Timothy. 1994. Vagueness. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Williamson, Timothy. 2003. “Vagueness in Reality.” In The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics, editd by Michael J. Loux, and Dean W. Zimmerman, 690–716. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Zadeh, Lotfi. 1975. “Fuzzy Logic and Approximate Reasoning.” Synthese 30: 407–28.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2019-10-22


Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, Volume 20, Issue 1, 20180093, ISSN (Online) 1935-1704, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejte-2018-0093.

Export Citation

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in