The main objective of this study was to analyze the effect of advertising on social welfare in a perfectly competitive market where the level of advertising is chosen by a social planner. The theoretical model revealed that social planner sponsored advertising that increases the equilibrium price of the advertised good can increase society’s welfare if the effect of advertising in consumers’ utility is higher than the consumer welfare reducing price effect (producer welfare is increased by the same amount as the reduction in consumer welfare). The empirical illustration focuses on the U.S. state of South Carolina “buy local” food products campaign. The findings suggest that this government sponsored advertising campaign increases total welfare.


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