Salience games : private politics when public attention is limited
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 12:25 authored by Anthony Heyes, Thomas Lyon, Steve Martin
We develop a theoretical model in which an industry and NGO play salience games - they act strategically to influence public attention to social impacts in the sector. Salience stimulates extra donations for the NGO, and thus firms have incentives to hide the damage they do to avoid public attention. How can an NGO design its mission (how to divide income between campaigning and other projects, and what sorts of campaigns to run) to thrive in such a setting? We show that when public attention is scarce, a greater campaign orientation induces industry to invest in greater obfuscation, starving the NGO of funds. The NGO in turn strategically biases its mission away from campaigns, and in favor of sector-wide versus firm-specific campaigns, but not by as much as a welfare-motivated planner would want. When public attention is avoided by a mixture of substantive and symbolic action, we show that a greater weight on the former induces the NGO to become more campaign-oriented, with social damage lower.
- Accepted version
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Department affiliated with
- Economics Publications
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