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Persuasion: Empirical Evidence


  • Stefano DellaVigna
  • Matthew Gentzkow


We provide a selective survey of empirical evidence on the effects as well as the drivers of persuasive communication. We consider persuasion directed at consumers, voters, donors, and investors. We organize our review around four questions. First, to what extent does persuasion affect the behavior of each of these groups? Second, what models best capture the response to persuasive communication? In particular, we distinguish information-based models from preference-based models. Third, what are persuaders' incentives and what limits their ability to distort communications? Finally, what evidence exists on the equilibrium outcomes of persuasion in economics and politics?

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2009. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 15298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15298
    Note: AP IO LS PE POL

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-3285, December.
    2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    3. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    4. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U. S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728.
    5. Peter M. DeMarzo & Dimitri Vayanos & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 2003. "Persuasion Bias, Social Influence, and Unidimensional Opinions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 909-968.
    6. Roland G. Fryer & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Categorical Cognition: A Psychological Model of Categories and Identification in Decision Making," Microeconomics 0211002, EconWPA.
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    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General

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