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Wintertime for Deceptive Advertising?

  • Jonathan Zinman
  • Eric Zitzewitz

Casual empiricism suggests that deceptive advertising about product quality is prevalent, and several classes of theories explore its causes and consequences. We provide some unusually sharp empirical evidence on the extent, mechanics, and dynamics of deceptive advertising. Ski resorts self-report substantially more natural snowfall on weekends. Resorts that plausibly reap greater benefits from exaggerating do it more. Data on website visits suggests that consumers are appropriately skeptical of weekend reports. We find little evidence that competition restrains or encourages exaggeration. Near the end of our sample period, a new iPhone application feature makes it easier for skiers share information on ski conditions in real time. Exaggeration falls sharply, especially at resorts with better iPhone reception.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17829.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17829.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17829
Note: LE
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  1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Coarse Thinking and Persuasion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 577-619, 05.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Gergely Ujhelyi, 2006. "Regulating Misinformation," NBER Working Papers 12784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sauer, Raymond D & Leffler, Keith B, 1990. "Did the Federal Trade Commission's Advertising Substantiation Program Promote More Credible Advertising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 191-203, March.
  4. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2004. "Generalized multilevel structural equation modeling," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 167-190, June.
  5. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
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