Coarse Thinking and Persuasion

51 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2006

See all articles by Andrei Shleifer

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Sendhil Mullainathan

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joshua Schwartzstein

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 17, 2006

Abstract

We present a model of coarse thinking, in which individuals group situations into categories, and transfer the informational content of a given message from situations in a category where it is useful to those where it is not. The model explains how uninformative messages can be persuasive, particularly in low involvement situations, and how objectively informative messages can be dropped by the persuader without the audience assuming the worst. The model sheds light on product branding, the structure of product attributes, and several puzzling aspects of mutual fund advertising.

Keywords: advertising, branding, marketing

JEL Classification: G23, L15, M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Shleifer, Andrei and Mullainathan, Sendhil and Schwartzstein, Joshua, Coarse Thinking and Persuasion (November 17, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=945674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.945674

Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/~ashleife/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Sendhil Mullainathan

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2720 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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617-588-1473 (Phone)
617-876-2742 (Fax)

Joshua Schwartzstein

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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