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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

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    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.
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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goeschl, Timo, 2019. "Cold Case: The forensic economics of energy efficiency labels for domestic refrigeration appliances," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(S1).
    2. Andrew Rhodes & Chris M. Wilson, 2018. "False advertising," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 49(2), pages 348-369, June.
    3. Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Ahmed Skali & Benno Torgler, 2019. "Political Entrenchment and GDP Misreporting," CREMA Working Paper Series 2019-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Raymond, Collin & Taylor, Sarah, 2021. "“Tell all the truth, but tell it slant”: Documenting media bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 670-691.
    5. Yue Wu & Tansev Geylani, 2020. "Regulating Deceptive Advertising: False Claims and Skeptical Consumers," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(4), pages 788-806, July.
    6. Ahlin, Christian & Kim, In Kyung & Kim, Kyoo il, 2021. "Who commits fraud? evidence from korean gas stations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    7. Zhang, Xiaoheng & Yu, Xiaohua & You, Liangzhi, 2020. "Does the Granary County Subsidy Program Lead to manipulation of grain production data in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).

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    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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