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Persuasion and empathy in salesperson-customer interactions

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

Abstract

In a search model, prospects encounter salespeople who can try to persuade them. Persuasive messages can increase the utility of buying or increase the cost of not buying. The latter reduces welfare. Equilibria where only some salespeople make a persuasive effort often exist. Salespeople vary in their empathy, and choose their jobs accordingly. When all prospects are persuadable, a negative correlation between empathy and sales suggests that persuasion increases the cost of not buying. When only some are, messages that increase the utility of purchasing can reduce welfare. They can also lead to a negative correlation between empathy and sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Rotemberg, 2010. "Persuasion and empathy in salesperson-customer interactions," NBER Working Papers 15975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15975
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15975.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2006. "Contracting with Diversely Naive Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 689-714.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-964.
    3. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2018. "Shrouded attributes, consumer myopia and information suppression in competitive markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Behavioral Industrial Organization, chapter 3, pages 40-74 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    5. Rajiv Lal & V. Srinivasan, 1993. "Compensation Plans for Single- and Multi-Product Salesforces: An Application of the Holmstrom-Milgrom Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(7), pages 777-793, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buehler, Stefan & Halbheer, Daniel, 2012. "Persuading consumers with social attitudes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 439-450.
    2. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2010. "Exploding offers and buy-now discounts," MPRA Paper 22531, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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