Econometrica: Jul 2021, Volume 89, Issue 4

Attention Please!
p. 1717-1751

Olivier Gossner, Jakub Steiner, Colin Stewart

We study the impact of manipulating the attention of a decision‐maker who learns sequentially about a number of items before making a choice. Under natural assumptions on the decision‐maker's strategy, directing attention toward one item increases its likelihood of being chosen regardless of its value. This result applies when the decision‐maker can reject all items in favor of an outside option with known value; if no outside option is available, the direction of the effect of manipulation depends on the value of the item. A similar result applies to manipulation of choices in bandit problems.

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