Competing for Attention: Is the Showiest Also the Best?

18 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2018

See all articles by Paola Manzini

Paola Manzini

University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Marco Mariotti

University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

There are many situations in which alternatives ranked by quality wish to be chosen and compete for the imperfect attention of a chooser by selecting their own salience. The chooser may be ‘tricked' into choosing more salient but inferior alternatives. We investigate when competitive forces ensure instead that (strictly) higher salience is diagnostic of (strictly) higher quality and the most frequently chosen alternative is the best one. We prove that the structure of externalities in the technology of salience is key. Broadly speaking, positive externalities in salience favour correlation between quality and salience.

Suggested Citation

Manzini, Paola and Mariotti, Marco, Competing for Attention: Is the Showiest Also the Best? (March 2018). The Economic Journal, Vol. 128, Issue 609, pp. 827-844, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3133431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12425

Paola Manzini (Contact Author)

University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~pm210/

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Marco Mariotti

University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

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