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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 215, 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)

The celebrated Bayesian persuasion model considers strategic communication between an informed agent (the sender) and uninformed decision makers (the receivers). The current rapidly-growing literature assumes a dichotomy: either the sender is powerful enough to communicate separately with each receiver (a.k.a. private persuasion), or she cannot communicate separately at all (a.k.a. public persuasion). We propose a model that smoothly interpolates between the two, by introducing a natural multi-channel communication structure in which each receiver observes a subset of the sender’s communication channels. This captures, e.g., receivers on a network, where information spillover is almost inevitable.
Our main result is a complete characterization specifying when one communication structure is better for the sender than another, in the sense of yielding higher optimal expected utility universally over all prior distributions and utility functions. The characterization is based on a simple pairwise relation among receivers - one receiver information-dominates another if he observes at least the same channels. We prove that a communication structure M₁ is (weakly) better than M₂ if and only if every information-dominating pair of receivers in M₁ is also such in M₂. This result holds in the most general model of Bayesian persuasion in which receivers may have externalities - that is, the receivers' actions affect each other. The proof is cryptographic-inspired and it has a close conceptual connection to secret sharing protocols.
As a surprising consequence of the main result, the sender can implement private Bayesian persuasion (which is the best communication structure for the sender) for k receivers using only O(log k) communication channels, rather than k channels in the naive implementation. We provide an implementation that matches the information-theoretical lower bound on the number of channels - not only asymptotically, but exactly. Moreover, the main result immediately implies some results of [Kerman and Tenev, 2021] on persuading receivers arranged in a network such that each receiver observes both the signals sent to him and to his neighbours in the network.
We further provide an additive FPTAS for an optimal sender’s signaling scheme when the number of states of nature is constant, the sender has an additive utility function and the graph of the information-dominating pairs of receivers is a directed forest. We focus on a constant number of states, as even for the special case of public persuasion and additive sender’s utility, it was shown by [Shaddin Dughmi and Haifeng Xu, 2017] that one can achieve neither an additive PTAS nor a polynomial-time constant-factor optimal sender’s utility approximation (unless P=NP). We leave for future research studying exact tractability of forest communication structures, as well as generalizing our result to more families of sender’s utility functions and communication structures.
Finally, we prove that finding an optimal signaling scheme under multi-channel persuasion is computationally hard for a general family of sender’s utility functions - separable supermajority functions, which are specified by choosing a partition of the set of receivers and summing supermajority functions corresponding to different elements of the partition, multiplied by some non-negative constants. Note that one can easily deduce from [Emir Kamenica and Matthew Gentzkow, 2011] and [Itai Arieli and Yakov Babichenko, 2019] that finding an optimal signaling scheme for such utility functions is computationally tractable for both public and private persuasion. This difference illustrates both the conceptual and the computational hardness of general multi-channel persuasion.

Yakov Babichenko, Inbal Talgam-Cohen, Haifeng Xu, and Konstantin Zabarnyi. Multi-Channel Bayesian Persuasion. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 11:1-11:2, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{babichenko_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11, author = {Babichenko, Yakov and Talgam-Cohen, Inbal and Xu, Haifeng and Zabarnyi, Konstantin}, title = {{Multi-Channel Bayesian Persuasion}}, booktitle = {13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)}, pages = {11:1--11:2}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-217-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {215}, editor = {Braverman, Mark}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-156072}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11}, annote = {Keywords: Algorithmic game theory, Bayesian persuasion, Private Bayesian persuasion, Public Bayesian persuasion, Secret sharing, Networks} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 67, 8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017)

We consider a multi-receivers Bayesian persuasion model where an informed sender tries to persuade a group of receivers to take a certain action. The state of nature is known to the sender, but it is unknown to the receivers. The sender is allowed to commit to a signaling policy where she sends a private signal to every receiver. This work studies the computation aspects of finding a signaling policy that maximizes the sender's revenue.
We show that if the sender's utility is a submodular function of the set of receivers that take the desired action, then we can efficiently find a signaling policy whose revenue is at least (1-1/e) times the optimal. We also prove that approximating the sender's optimal revenue by a factor better than (1-1/e) is NP-hard and, hence, the developed approximation guarantee is essentially tight. When the sender's utility is a function of the number of receivers that take the desired action (i.e., the utility function is anonymous), we show that an optimal signaling policy can be computed in polynomial time. Our results are based on an interesting connection between the Bayesian persuasion problem and the evaluation of the concave closure of a set function.

Yakov Babichenko and Siddharth Barman. Algorithmic Aspects of Private Bayesian Persuasion. In 8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 67, pp. 34:1-34:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{babichenko_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.34, author = {Babichenko, Yakov and Barman, Siddharth}, title = {{Algorithmic Aspects of Private Bayesian Persuasion}}, booktitle = {8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017)}, pages = {34:1--34:16}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-029-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {67}, editor = {Papadimitriou, Christos H.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.34}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-81502}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2017.34}, annote = {Keywords: Economics of Information, Bayesian Persuasion, Signaling, Concave Closure} }

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