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Who Benefits from Misleading Advertising?


  • Keisuke Hattori

    () (Faculty of Economics, Osaka University of Economics)

  • Keisaku Higashida

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)


We develop a Hotelling model of horizontally and vertically differentiated brands with misleading advertising competition. We investigate the question of who benefits or loses from the misinformation created by advertising competition and related regulatory policies. We show that the quality gaps between two brands are crucial for determining the effect of misinformation on the firms’ profits, aggregate or individual consumer surplus, and national welfare. Although the misinformation tricks consumers into buying products that they would not have purchased otherwise, it may improve welfare even if the advertising does not expand the overall demand for the brands. We also show that, although endogenous advertising competition may lead to a prisoner’s dilemma for firms, it makes some consumers better off. We also consider the effects of several regulatory policies, such as advertising taxes, ad valorem and unit taxes on production, comprehensive and partial prohibitions of misleading advertising, government provisions of quality certification or counter-information, and the education of consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Keisuke Hattori & Keisaku Higashida, 2012. "Who Benefits from Misleading Advertising?," Discussion Paper Series 85, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Mar 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Subhadip Chakrabarti & Hans Haller, 2011. "An Analysis Of Advertising Wars," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(1), pages 100-124, January.
    2. Keisuke Hattori & Keisaku Higashida, 2012. "Misleading advertising in duopoly," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(3), pages 1154-1187, August.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2010. "Regulating misinformation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 247-257, April.
    4. Hattori, Keisuke & Higashida, Keisaku, 2014. "Misleading advertising and minimum quality standards," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 1-14.
    5. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ursino, Giovanni & Piccolo, Salvatore & Tedeschi, Piero, 2012. "Deceptive advertising with rational buyers," MPRA Paper 42553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Keisuke Hattori & Keisaku Higashida, 2015. "Should non-genuine products be expelled from markets?," Discussion Paper Series 126, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Mar 2015.

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    Misinformation; Advertising Competition; Regulation; Product Differentiation;

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