Competing for attention: is the showiest also the best?

Paola Manzini, Marco Mariotti

    Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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    We introduce attention games. Alternatives ranked by quality (producers, politicians, sexual partners...) desire to be chosen and compete for the imperfect attention of a chooser by investing in their own salience. We prove that if alternatives can control the attention they get, then "the showiest is the best": the equilibrium ordering of salience (weakly) reproduces the quality ranking and the best alternative is the one that gets picked most often. This result also holds under more general conditions. However, if those conditions fail, then even the worst alternative can be picked most often.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSt Andrews
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

    Publication series

    NameSchool of Economics & Finance Discussion Paper
    PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
    ISSN (Print)0962-4031
    ISSN (Electronic)2055-303X


    • Consideration sets
    • Bounded rationality
    • Stochastic choice


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