Newspaper Reports and Consumer Choice: Evidence from the Do Not Call Registry

33 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2010 Last revised: 6 Aug 2014

See all articles by Khim Yong Goh

Khim Yong Goh

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Kai-Lung Hui

School of Business and Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Ivan P. L. Png

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Date Written: February 23, 2010

Abstract

Despite annual expenditures on public relations exceeding $19.42 billion, U.S. businesses lack practical guidance about the effectiveness of publicity in mass media.

Here, we assemble a rich and novel data-set to gauge the impact of news reports on consumer sign-ups with the U.S. Do Not Call (DNC) registry. Using multiple identification strategies, we found robust evidence that news reports increased consumer registrations. Specifically, a one-percent increase in the number of news reports increased DNC registrations by 0.018 (±0.002) percent.

The impact increased with mention of the toll-free telephone number and URL, but decreased with the length of the headline and main text. Further, we found evidence that reports affect behavior through persuasion as well as information – the impact on registration was higher for reports that mentioned the number of other people registering. Finally, the impact of news reports on consumer registration was stronger in national than local newspapers and in politically neutral and Democrat than Republican newspapers.

Keywords: newspaper, publicity, do not call

JEL Classification: L15, L82, M39

Suggested Citation

Goh, Khim Yong and Hui, Kai-Lung and Png, Ivan P. L., Newspaper Reports and Consumer Choice: Evidence from the Do Not Call Registry (February 23, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1557519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1557519

Khim Yong Goh

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

15 Computing Drive
Singapore, 117418
Singapore
65-65162832 (Phone)
65-67791610 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~gohky

Kai-Lung Hui

School of Business and Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology ( email )

Clear Water Bay
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Ivan P. L. Png (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Singapore, 117543
Singapore
+65 6516-6807 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/iplpng/

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