Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Inattentive Consumers and Product Quality

Contents:

Author Info

  • Mark Armstrong
  • Yongmin Chen

Abstract

We present a model in which some consumers shop on the basis of price alone, without paying attention to product quality. A firm may "cheat" and offer a worthless product to exploit these inattentive consumers. In the unique symmetric equilibrium, firms follow a mixed strategy involving both price and quality dispersion. The presence of inattentive consumers harms attentive consumers, and enables firms to earn positive profits. With many sellers, approximately half of them will cheat. A market transparency policy which boosts the number of attentive consumers will make firms less inclined to cheat, which improves welfare, but the impact of the policy on profit and consumer surplus is ambiguous. (JEL: D18, L13, L15) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1542-4774/issues
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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: 411-422

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:411-422

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/jeea

Order Information:
Web: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/jeea

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," NBER Working Papers 13420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," NBER Working Papers 10269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  4. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Glenn Ellison, 2004. "A Model of Add-on Pricing," Economics Working Papers 0049, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  6. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Leland, Hayne, 1982. "Prices and Qualities in Markets with Costly Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 499-516, October.
  7. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1980. "A Model in Which an Increase in the Number of Sellers Leads to a Higher Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1575-79, September.
  8. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1989. "Imperfect information in the product market," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 769-847 Elsevier.
  9. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-46, December.
  10. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. David Dranove & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1992. "Monopolistic Competition When Price and Quality are Imperfectly Observable," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 518-534, Winter.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy, 2011. "Shrinking Goods and Sticky Prices: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2011-03, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  2. Chioveanu, Ioana, 2009. "Price and Quality Competition," MPRA Paper 21647, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Feb 2010.
  3. Nagler, Matthew G. & Kronenberg, Fredi & Kennelly, Edward J. & Jiang, Bei & Ma, Chunhui, 2010. "The use of indicators for unobservable product qualities: inferences based on consumer sorting," MPRA Paper 28409, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Chen, Yongmin & Zhang, Tianle, 2011. "Equilibrium price dispersion with heterogeneous searchers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 645-654.
  5. de Clippel, Geoffroy & Eliaz, Kfir & Rozen, Kareen, 2013. "Competing for Consumer Inattention," CEPR Discussion Papers 9553, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Karle, Heiko & Peitz, Martin, 2010. "Pricing and Information Disclosure in Markets with Loss-Averse Consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 7785, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ioana Chioveanu & Jidong Zhou, 2012. "Price Competition and Consumer Confusion," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 12-08, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  8. Daniel Levy & Avichai Snir, 2013. "Shrinking Goods," Working Paper Series 20_13, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  9. Schultz, Christian, 2009. "Transparency and product variety," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 165-168, March.
  10. Nick Vikander, 2014. "Sellouts, Beliefs, and Bandwagon Behavior," Discussion Papers 14-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  11. Andrei Dubovik & Maarten C.W. Janssen, 2008. "Oligopolistic Competition in Price and Quality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-068/1, Tinbergen Institute.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:411-422. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.