Taking Behavioralism Seriously: Some Evidence of Market Manipulation
Harvard Law Review, Vol. 112, p. 1420, 1999
149 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2008 Last revised: 21 Jan 2009
An important lesson of behavioralist research is that individuals' perceptions and preferences are highly manipulable. This article presents empirical evidence of market manipulation, a previously unrecognized source of market failure. It surveys extensive qualitative and quantitative marketing research and consumer behavioral studies, reviews common practices in settings such as gas stations and supermarkets, and examines environmentally oriented and fear-based advertising. The article then focuses on the industry that has most depended upon market manipulation: the cigarette industry. Through decades of sophisticated marketing and public relations efforts, cigarette manufacturers have heightened consumer demand and lowered consumer risk perceptions. Such market manipulation may justify moving to enterprise liability, the regime advocated by the first generation of product liability scholars.
Keywords: economic behavioralism, market manipulation, marketing, public relations, products liability, law and economics, tobacco industry, cigarette industry
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