Abstract: 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 assump- tions 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.
Econometrica, Vol. 89, No. 4 (July, 2021), 1717–1751, 2021