How Bayesian Persuasion can Help Reduce Illegal Parking and Other Socially Undesirable Behavior

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We consider the question of how best to allocate law enforcement resources across different locations. This question is typically analyzed in the context of what is known as a “security game.” A security game is a two-player, possibly zero-sum, simultanous-move game in which an attacker has to decide where to strike while a defender has to decide where to allocate its limited defense resources. Analysis of such games has been applied to the question of how to defend against terrorist attacks (Powell, 2007), as well as to a host of related issues (see Tambe, 2011, and the references therein). The novelty in our approach is that we allow the defender to employ the techniques of “Bayesian persuasion,” namely the use of carefully disseminated truthful communication, to maximize its advantage.1 As we show, Bayesian persuasion can significantly increase the defender’s payoff and may imply a completely different allocation of resources.
Joint work with Penélope Hernández.