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Research Details

Markets for Rhetorical Services

Abstract

This paper studies markets for rhetorical services, which are services that make arguments stronger. We develop a communication model that microfounds what it means for one argument to be “stronger” than another. Using this model, we characterize two types of rhetorical services with contrasting equilibrium effects: embellishing services disproportionately enable stronger lies, while clarifying services disproportionately enable stronger truthful arguments. We then embed these services into a market and study demand, supply, and welfare. The key characteristic of markets for rhetorical services is that demand depends on the audience's beliefs about the prevalence of such services. We characterize how this belief spillover determines market outcomes, discuss policies and the role of platforms, and explore market dynamics.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

Daniel Barron, Michael Powell

Date Published

2021

Citations

Barron, Daniel, and Michael Powell. 2021. Markets for Rhetorical Services.

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