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Media Advertising and Ballot Initiatives: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Allender, William J.
  • Richards, Timothy J.
  • Fang, Di
  • Doyon, Maurice
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    Abstract

    Spending on political advertising increases with every election cycle, not only for congressional or presidential candidates, but also for state-level ballot initiatives. There is little research in marketing, however, on the effectiveness of political advertising at this level. In this study, we conduct an experimental analysis of advertisements used during the 2008 campaign to mandate new animal welfare standards in California (Proposition 2). Using subjects' willingness to pay for cage-free eggs as a proxy for their likely voting behavior, we investigate whether advertising provides real information to likely voters, and thus sharpens their existing attitudes toward the issue, or whether advertising can indeed change preferences. We find that advertising in support of Proposition 2 was more effective in raising subjects' willingness to pay for cage-free eggs than ads in opposition were in reducing it, but we also find that ads in support of the measure reduce the dispersion of preferences and thus polarize attitudes toward the initiative. More generally, political ads are found to contain considerably more "hype" than "real information" in the sense of Johnson and Myatt (2006).

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with number 104224.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea11:104224

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    Keywords: Animal Welfare; Proposition 2; Cage Free eggs; Willingness to Pay; BDM auction; Political Advertising; Agribusiness; Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Marketing; Political Economy; Production Economics; Public Economics;

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    1. Hartl, Jochen & Herrmann, Roland, 2008. "Do They Always Say No? German Consumers and Second-Generation GMO Foods," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44164, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    3. Lusk,Jayson L. & Shogren,Jason F., 2007. "Experimental Auctions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671248.
    4. Fox, John A & Hayes, Dermot J & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. " Consumer Preferences for Food Irradiation: How Favorable and Unfavorable Descriptions Affect Preferences for Irradiated Pork in Experimental Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 75-95, January.
    5. Jayson L. Lusk & Jutta Roosen & John A. Fox, 2003. "Demand for Beef from Cattle Administered Growth Hormones or Fed Genetically Modified Corn: A Comparison of Consumers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 16-29.
    6. David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," Economics Series Working Papers 185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
    8. Lusk, Jayson L. & Daniel, M. Scott & Mark, Darrell R. & Lusk, Christine L., 2000. "Alternative Calibration And Auction Institutions For Predicting Consumer Willingness-To-Pay For Non-Genetically Modified Corn Chips," 2000 Annual Meeting, June 29-July 1, 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia 36424, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    9. Shogren, Jason F. & Margolis, Michael & Koo, Cannon & List, John A., 2001. "A random nth-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 409-421, December.
    10. Thaler, Richard, 1980. "Toward a positive theory of consumer choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 39-60, March.
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