NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Rosemary Avery

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Working Papers

March 2013The Effect of Deceptive Advertising on Consumption of the Advertised Good and its Substitutes: The Case of Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Products
with John Cawley, Matthew Eisenberg: w18863
This paper is the first to estimate the impact of exposure to deceptive advertising on consumption of the advertised product and its substitutes. We study the market for over-the-counter (OTC) weight-loss products, a market in which deceptive advertising is rampant and products are generally ineffective with potentially serious side effects. We control for the targeting of ads using indicator variables for each unique magazine read and television show watched. Our estimates indicate that exposure to deceptive advertising is associated with a lower probability that women, and a higher probability that men, consume OTC weight loss products. We find evidence of spillovers; exposure to deceptive print ads is associated with a higher probability of dieting and exercising for both men and women...
January 2006Private Profits and Public Health: Does Advertising Smoking Cessation Products Encourage Smokers to Quit?
with Donald Kenkel, Dean R. Lillard, Alan Mathios: w11938
To shed new light on the role private profit incentives play in promoting public health, in this paper we conduct an empirical study of the impact of pharmaceutical industry advertising on smoking cessation decisions. We link survey data on individual smokers with an archive of magazine advertisements. The rich survey data allow us to measure smokers' exposure to smoking cessation advertisements based on their magazine-reading habits. Because we observe the same information about the consumers that the advertisers observe, we can control for the potential endogeneity of advertising due to firms' targeting decisions. We find that when smokers are exposed to more advertising, they are more likely to attempt to quit and are more likely to have successfully quit. While some of the increased qu...

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