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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Lint Barrage

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January 2014Advertising, Reputation, and Environmental Stewardship: Evidence from the BP Oil Spill
with Eric Chyn, Justine Hastings: w19838
This paper explores whether and how private markets can provide environmental stewardship through green advertising. We examine the period surrounding the 2010 BP oil spill and estimate how pre-spill investment in “green advertising” affected the spill’s impact on BP retail gasoline prices and demand. We use station-level prices and sales from a large sample of U.S. retail gasoline stations and market-level advertising expenditures during BP’s 2000-2008 “Beyond Petroleum” campaign. We find evidence consistent with consumer punishment of BP in the months following the spill; during the spill BP margins declined significantly by 4.2 cents per gallon, and volumes declined by 3.6 percent. Losses were larger in areas where consumers express strong green preferences in their purchase of other pr...

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