Salience games : private politics when public attention is limited

Heyes, Anthony, Lyon, Thomas and Martin, Steve (2018) Salience games : private politics when public attention is limited. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 88. pp. 396-410. ISSN 0095-0696

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Non-market strategy; NGOs; limited attention; salience
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Depositing User: Anthony Heyes
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 13:07
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 14:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74307

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