Persuasion: Empirical Evidence

Stefano DellaVigna
University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Gentzkow
University of Chicago – Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

August 2009

NBER Working Paper No. w15298


We provide a selective survey of empirical evidence on the effects as well as the drivers of persuasive communication. We consider persuasion directed at consumers, voters, donors, and investors. We organize our review around four questions. First, to what extent does persuasion affect the behavior of each of these groups? Second, what models best capture the response to persuasive communication? In particular, we distinguish information-based models from preference-based models. Third, what are persuaders’ incentives and what limits their ability to distort communications? Finally, what evidence exists on the equilibrium outcomes of persuasion in economics and politics?

Persuasion- Empirical Evidence

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