Snowed: Deceptive Advertising by Ski Resorts

32 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009  

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College; Innovations for Poverty Action; Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eric Zitzewitz

Dartmouth College; NBER

Date Written: June 29, 2009

Abstract

Casual empiricism suggests that deceptive advertising 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 23 percent more snowfall on weekends; there is no such weekend effect in government precipitation data. Resorts that plausibly reap greater benefits from exaggerating do it more. We find little evidence that competition restrains or encourages exaggeration. Near the end of our sample period, we observe a shock to the information environment: a new iPhone application feature makes it easier for skiers to comment on resort ski conditions in real time. Exaggeration falls sharply, especially at resorts where iPhones can get reception.

Keywords: false advertising, misleading advertising, bait and switch, search costs, quality disclosure, product information, Internet

JEL Classification: D83, M37, K29, L50, L83

Suggested Citation

Zinman, Jonathan and Zitzewitz, Eric, Snowed: Deceptive Advertising by Ski Resorts (June 29, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1427490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1427490

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-0075 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~jzinman/

Innovations for Poverty Action

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Jameel Poverty Action Lab

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Eric W. Zitzewitz (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2891 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ericz

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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