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Information Source and Cigarettes: Experimental Evidence on the Messenger Effect

Author

Listed:
  • Johanna Catherine Maclean
  • John Buckell
  • Joachim Marti

Abstract

We examine the importance of information source (the ‘messenger’) on consumer choice in the context of cigarettes, electronic and tobacco. We proxy choice with intentions to use cigarettes and risk perceptions. We experimentally vary the messenger across three information sources: government, physicians, and private companies. We compare effects relative to a no source control in a sample of adult smokers. Neoclassical theory predicts that the information source, or the messenger, should not influence choices. Behavioral economics suggests that the messenger can have important implications for how consumers process information and, in turn, make decisions. Our findings provide evidence in line with behavioral economics: the messenger influences intention to use e-cigarettes, and risk perceptions about e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. Private companies appear to be particularly important messengers and are potentially the economic agents most likely to shape the future adult demand for cigarettes.

Suggested Citation

  • Johanna Catherine Maclean & John Buckell & Joachim Marti, 2019. "Information Source and Cigarettes: Experimental Evidence on the Messenger Effect," NBER Working Papers 25632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25632
    Note: AG HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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