Persuasion and Empathy in Salesperson-Customer Interactions

57 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010 Last revised: 27 Aug 2010

See all articles by Julio J. Rotemberg

Julio J. Rotemberg

Harvard University, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit (deceased); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) (deceased)

Date Written: May 2010

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

Rotemberg, Julio J., Persuasion and Empathy in Salesperson-Customer Interactions (May 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15975. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1601726

Julio J. Rotemberg (Contact Author)

Harvard University, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit (deceased) ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
617-495-1015 (Phone)
617-496-5994 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) (deceased)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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