Competing for Attention: Is the Showiest Also the Best?

Paola Manzini*, Marco Mariotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


There are many situations in which alternatives ranked by quality wish to be chosen and compete for the imperfect attention of a chooser by selecting their own salience. The chooser may be ‘tricked' into choosing more salient but inferior alternatives. We investigate when competitive forces ensure instead that (strictly) higher salience is diagnostic of (strictly) higher quality and the most frequently chosen alternative is the best one. We prove that the structure of externalities in the technology of salience is key. Broadly speaking, positive externalities in salience favour correlation between quality and salience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-844
Number of pages18
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number609
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Royal Economic Society

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Structured keywords

  • ECON Microeconomic Theory


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