We study an information-structure design problem (a.k.a. a persuasion problem) with a single sender and multiple receivers with actions of a priori unknown types, independently drawn from action-specific marginal probability distributions. As in the standard Bayesian persuasion model, the sender has access to additional information regarding the action types, which she can exploit when committing to a (noisy) signaling scheme through which she sends a private signal to each receiver. The novelty of our model is in considering the much more expressive case in which the receivers interact in a sequential game with imperfect information, with utilities depending on the game outcome and the realized action types. After formalizing the notions of ex ante and ex interim persuasiveness (which differ by the time at which the receivers commit to following the sender's signaling scheme), we investigate the continuous optimization problem of computing a signaling scheme which maximizes the sender's expected revenue. We show that computing an optimal ex ante persuasive signaling scheme is NP-hard when there are three or more receivers. Instead, in contrast with previous hardness results for ex interim persuasion, we show that, for games with two receivers, an optimal ex ante persuasive signaling scheme can be computed in polynomial time thanks to the novel algorithm we propose, based on the ellipsoid method.
Published Date: 2020-06-02
Registration: ISSN 2374-3468 (Online) ISSN 2159-5399 (Print) ISBN 978-1-57735-835-0 (10 issue set)
Copyright: Published by AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA Copyright © 2020, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence All Rights Reserved