IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/egc/wpaper/968.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Marianne Bertrand

    (University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

  • Sendhil Mullainathan

    (University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

  • Dean Karlan

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Eldar Shafir

    (Princeton University, Innovations for Poverty Action, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

  • Jonathan Zinman

    (Dartmouth College and Innovations for Poverty Action)

Abstract

Firms spend billions of dollars each year advertising consumer products in order to influence demand. Much of these outlays are on the creative design of advertising content. Creative content often uses nuances of presentation and framing that have large effects on consumer decision making in laboratory studies. But there is little field evidence on the effect of advertising content as it compares in magnitude to the effect of price. We analyze a direct mail field experiment in South Africa implemented by a consumer lender that randomized creative content and loan price simultaneously. We find that content has significant effects on demand. There is also some evidence that the magnitude of content sensitivity is large relative to price sensitivity. However, it was difficult to predict which particular types of content would significantly impact demand. This fits with a central premise of psychology— context matters— and highlights the importance of testing the robustness of laboratory findings in the field.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Dean Karlan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," Working Papers 968, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:968
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp968.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
    2. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Contract Design and Self-Control: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402.
    3. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782.
    4. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    5. Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, February.
    6. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    7. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    9. Choi, James J. & Madrian, Brigitte & Laibson, David I., 2011. "$100 Bills on the Sidewalk: Violations of No-Arbitrage in 401(k) Accounts," Scholarly Articles 9647368, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    10. Fitzsimons, Gavan J & Shiv, Baba, 2001. "Nonconscious and Contaminative Effects of Hypothetical Questions on Subsequent Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 224-238, September.
    11. Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Debit or credit?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 358-366, February.
    12. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries With a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1993-2008, November.
    13. Itamar Simonson & Ziv Carmon & Suzanne O'Curry, 1994. "Experimental Evidence on the Negative Effect of Product Features and Sales Promotions on Brand Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(1), pages 23-40.
    14. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71.
    15. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    16. Fehr, Ernst & Götte, Lorenz, 2004. "Do Workers Work More When Wages Are High? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1002, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    18. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, March.
    19. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2003. "Choosing the Wrong Calling Plan? Ignorance and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 297-310, March.
    20. Jonathan Zinman, 2004. "Why use debit instead of credit? Consumer choice in a trillion-dollar market," Staff Reports 191, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    21. Morwitz, Vicki G & Johnson, Eric J & Schmittlein, David C, 1993. "Does Measuring Intent Change Behavior?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-61, June.
    22. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    23. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Elasticities of Demand for Consumer Credit," Working Papers 926, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    24. Sendhil Mullainathan & Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 7948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marianne Bertrand & Dean S. Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," Working Papers 918, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    2. Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 315-372, June.
    3. Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
    4. Tanjim Hossain & John A. List, 2012. "The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(12), pages 2151-2167, December.
    5. Karlan, Dean & Morduch, Jonathan, 2010. "Access to Finance," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Dani Rodrik & Mark Rosenzweig (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 4703-4784, Elsevier.
    6. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2017. "Richard H. Thaler: Integrating Economics with Psychology," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2017-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    7. Anton Suvorov & Jeroen van de Ven, 2008. "Goal Setting as a Self-Regulation Mechanism," Working Papers w0122, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    8. John A. List & Michael S. Haigh, 2010. "Investment Under Uncertainty: Testing the Options Model with Professional Traders," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 974-984, November.
    9. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    10. Roth, Gerrit, 2006. "Predicting the Gap between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Munich Dissertations in Economics 4901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    11. John A. List, 2006. "Using Hicksian Surplus Measures to Examine Consistency of Individual Preferences: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 115-134, March.
    12. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
    13. Teck H. Ho & Noah Lim & Colin Camerer, 2005. "Modeling the Psychology of Consumer and Firm Behavior with Behavioral Economics," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000476, UCLA Department of Economics.
    14. Fredrik Carlsson, 2010. "Design of Stated Preference Surveys: Is There More to Learn from Behavioral Economics?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 167-177, June.
    15. Itai Ater & Vardit Landsman, 2013. "Do Customers Learn from Experience? Evidence from Retail Banking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(9), pages 2019-2035, September.
    16. Francis Larson & John A. List & Robert D. Metcalfe, 2016. "Can Myopic Loss Aversion Explain the Equity Premium Puzzle? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Professional Traders," NBER Working Papers 22605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Insaf Bekir & Faten Doss, 2020. "Status quo bias and attitude towards risk: An experimental investigation," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 41(5), pages 827-838, July.
    18. Eduard Marinov, 2017. "The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 117-159.
    19. Metcalfe, Robert & Dolan, Paul, 2012. "Behavioural economics and its implications for transport," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 503-511.
    20. Weimann Joachim, 2015. "Die Rolle von Verhaltensökonomik und experimenteller Forschung in Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Politikberatung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 231-252, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics of advertising; economics & psychology; behavioral; economics; cues; microfinance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:968. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Benjamin King (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/egyalus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.