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Consumer Protection and the Incentive to Become Informed

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  • Mark Armstrong
  • John Vickers
  • Jidong Zhou

Abstract

We discuss the impact of consumer protection policies on consumers' incentives to become informed of the best deals available in the market. In a market with costly information acquisition, we find that imposing a cap on suppliers' prices reduces the incentive to become informed of market conditions, with the result that prices paid by consumers (both informed and uninformed) may rise. In a related model where consumers have the ability to refuse to receive marketing, we find that this ability softens price competition and can make all consumers worse off. (JEL: D18, D83, L51) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 399-410

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:399-410

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References

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  1. Fershtman, Chaim & Fishman, Arthur, 1994. "The 'perverse' effects of wage and price controls in search markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1099-1112, May.
  2. Il-Horn Hann & Kai-Lung Hui & Sang-Yong T. Lee & Ivan P. L. Png, 2008. "Consumer Privacy and Marketing Avoidance: A Static Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(6), pages 1094-1103, June.
  3. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  4. Mark Armstrong, 2008. "Interactions between Competition and Consumer Policy," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 4.
  5. Simon P. Anderson & André de Palma, 2007. "Information Congestion: open access in a two-sided market," THEMA Working Papers 2007-10, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gu, Yiquan & Wenzel, Tobias, 2012. "Strategic obfuscation and consumer protection policy in financial markets: Theory and experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 76, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Obradovits, Martin, 2014. "Austrian-style gasoline price regulation: How it may backfire," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 33-45.
  3. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers, 2012. "Consumer Protection and Contingent Charges," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 477-93, June.
  4. Pier Luigi Parcu, 2013. "Electronic Communications Regulation in Europe: An Overview of Past and Future Problems," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/92, European University Institute.
  5. Silvia Martínez-Gorricho, 2012. "Beneficial consumer fraud," Working Papers. Serie AD 2012-13, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Kosfeld, Michael & Schüwer, Ulrich, 2011. "Add-on Pricing, Naive Consumers, and the Hidden Welfare Costs of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 6061, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Saul Lach & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2009. "Asymmetric Price Effects of Competition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-049/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Armstrong, Mark, 2011. "Economic models of consumer protection policies," MPRA Paper 34773, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Nermuth, Manfred & Pasini, Giacomo & Pin, Paolo & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2013. "The informational divide," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 21-30.
  10. Maarten Janssen & Paul Pichler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2009. "Sequential Search with Incompletely Informed Consumers: Theory and Evidence from Retail Gasoline Markets," Vienna Economics Papers 0914, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.

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