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Luca Braghieri

Luca Braghieri

American Democracy Graduate Fellows


Luca Braghieri is a PhD student in economics at Stanford University specializing in behavioral economics and political economy. He holds a BA from Harvard University. His most recent project studies the effects of social image concerns on communication, especially in relation to the debate about political correctness on college campus.

What You Can't Say: Social Image, Communication and Political Correctness

My project studies experimentally whether social image concerns around topics related to political correctness on college campuses lead students to publicly state opinions that they do not privately hold, and whether such distortions diminish the informativeness of statements made in public. Consistent with the predictions of a signaling model with lying costs, I show experimentally that: i) social image concerns drive a wedge between the sensitive socio-political attitudes that college students report in private and in public, and ii) public utterances are less informative than private utterances along two empirical measures of informativeness suggested by the theoretical model. Lastly, I study whether information loss is exacerbated by the fact that the natural audience in the environment, namely other college students, may be naive about the distortions induced by social image.