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Attention Manipulation and Information Overload

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  • Persson, Petra

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

When a decision-maker’s attention is limited, her decisions depend on what she focuses on. This gives interested parties an incentive to manipulate not only the substance of communication but also the decision-maker’s attention allocation. This paper models such attention manipulation. In its presence, competitive information supply can reduce the decision-maker’s knowledge by causing information overload. Further, a single information provider may deliberately induce information overload to conceal information. These findings, pertinent to consumer protection, suggest a role for rules that restrict communication, mandate not only the content but also the format of disclosure, and regulate product design.

Suggested Citation

  • Persson, Petra, 2013. "Attention Manipulation and Information Overload," Working Paper Series 995, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0995
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 162-178.
    2. Persson, Petra, 2018. "Attention manipulation and information overload," Behavioural Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 78-106, May.
    3. Timothy J. Richards & Gordon J. Klein & Celine Bonnet & Zohra Bouamra-Mechemache, 2020. "Strategic Obfuscation and Retail Pricing," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 57(4), pages 859-889, December.
    4. Arbatskaya, Maria & Aslam, Maria Vyshnya, 2018. "Liability or labeling? Regulating product risks with costly consumer attention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 238-252.
    5. Johannes Abeler & Simon Jäger, 2013. "Complex Tax Incentives - An Experimental Investigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4231, CESifo.
    6. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Competition for Attention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 481-513.
    7. Sergei Mikhalishchev, 2020. "Optimal Menu when Agents Make Mistakes," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp670, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    8. Michael Grubb, 2015. "Behavioral Consumers in Industrial Organization: An Overview," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(3), pages 247-258, November.
    9. Michael D. Grubb, 2015. "Behavioral Consumers in Industrial Organization," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 879, Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. Matteo Migheli & Giovanni Battista Ramello, 2018. "The market of academic attention," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(1), pages 113-133, January.
    11. Moshe Maor, 2020. "Policy over- and under-design: an information quality perspective," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(3), pages 395-411, September.
    12. Arve, Malin & Honryo, Takakazu, 2015. "Delegation and Communication," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 524, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    13. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2014. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-56.
    14. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2013. "Rational Ignorance, Elections, and Reform," MPRA Paper 68638, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Dec 2015.
    15. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2015. "Too Much Attention on Low Prices? Loss Leading in a Model of Sales with Salient Thinkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 10813, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Giuseppe Pernagallo & Benedetto Torrisi, 2019. "A Theory of Information overload applied to perfectly efficient financial markets," Papers 1904.03726, arXiv.org.
    17. Hefti, Andreas, 2018. "Limited attention, competition and welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 318-359.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Communication; Information Overload; Limited Attention; Persuasion; Disclosure; Complexity; Consumer Protection; Salience;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • 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
    • M38 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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