Search, Design and Market Structure
AbstractThe Internet has made consumer search much easier with consequences for competition, industry structure and product offerings. We explore these consequences in a rich but tractable model that allows for strategic design choices. We find a polarized market structure, where some firms choose designs aiming for broad-based audiences, while others target narrow niches. Such an industry structure can arise even when all firms and consumers are ex-ante identical. We perform comparative statics and show the effect of a fall in search costs on the designs, market shares, prices, and profits of different firms. In particular, a fall in search costs, through the effect on product designs, can lead to higher industry prices and profits. In characterizing sales distributions, our analysis is related to discussions of how the Internet has led to the prevalence of niche goods and the long tail and superstar phenomena.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 09-17.
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision: Sep 2009
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Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/
Other versions of this item:
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
- D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
- L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2009-10-24 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-ICT-2009-10-24 (Information & Communication Technologies)
- NEP-MIC-2009-10-24 (Microeconomics)
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