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Wintertime for Deceptive Advertising?

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  • Jonathan Zinman
  • Eric Zitzewitz

Abstract

Casual empiricism suggests that deceptive advertising about product quality is prevalent, and several classes of theories explore its causes and consequences. We provide unusually sharp empirical evidence on its extent, mechanics, and dynamics. Ski resorts self-report substantially more natural snowfall than comparable government sources. The difference is more pronounced on weekends, despite third-party evidence that snowfall is uniform throughout the week—as one would expect given plausibly greater returns to exaggeration on weekends. Exaggeration is greater for resorts that plausibly reap greater benefits from it: those with expert terrain and those not offering money back guarantees. (JEL D83, L15, L83, M37, Z31)

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Zinman & Eric Zitzewitz, 2016. "Wintertime for Deceptive Advertising?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 177-192, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:177-92
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20130346
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Coarse Thinking and Persuasion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 577-619.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2010. "Regulating misinformation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 247-257, April.
    3. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
    4. Sauer, Raymond D & Leffler, Keith B, 1990. "Did the Federal Trade Commission's Advertising Substantiation Program Promote More Credible Advertising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 191-203, March.
    5. Christine Jolls & Cass R. Sunstein, 2006. "Debiasing through Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 199-242, January.
    6. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2004. "Generalized multilevel structural equation modeling," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 167-190, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Rhodes & Chris M. Wilson, 2018. "False advertising," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 49(2), pages 348-369, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising
    • Z31 - Other Special Topics - - Tourism Economics - - - Industry Studies

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