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The price of discovering your needs online

Author

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  • Carroni, Elias
  • Ferrari, Luca
  • Righi, Simone

Abstract

Web users, even when not actively looking for a product, are continuously targeted by offers that potentially fit their interests. Does this kind of targeting always promote transactions with high social value? We consider a model in which a two-sided platform is visited by sellers seeking to promote their products and by users with state-contingent preferences about those products. Depending on its targeting ability, the platform could be able to target users by tailored advertising banners. We show that persuasion is stronger when targeting ability is maximal, fueling purchases that rational individuals may regret due to the persuasive nature of banners.

Suggested Citation

  • Carroni, Elias & Ferrari, Luca & Righi, Simone, 2019. "The price of discovering your needs online," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 317-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:164:y:2019:i:c:p:317-330
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.06.008
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Targeting; Platforms; Digital economy; Information design;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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