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Price Dispersion, Search Externalities, and the Digital Divide

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Abstract

We propose a model of price competition where consumers exogenously differ in the number of prices they compare. Our model can be interpreted either as a non–sequential search model or as a network model of price competition. We show that i) if consumers who previously just sampled one firm start to compare more prices all types of consumers will expect to pay a lower price and ii) if consumers who already sampled more than one price sample (even) more prices then there exists a threshold –the digital divide– such that all consumers comparing fewer prices than this threshold will expect to pay a higher price whereas all consumers comparing more prices will expect to pay a lower price than before.

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File URL: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Papers.Econ/RePEc/vie/viennp/vie0916.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Vienna, Department of Economics in its series Vienna Economics Papers with number 0916.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:0916

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Web page: http://www.univie.ac.at/vwl

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  1. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal & Matthew O. Jackson & Fernando Vega-Redondo & Leeat Yariv, 2008. "Network Games," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/07, European University Institute.
    • Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal & Matthew O. Jackson & Fernando Vega-Redondo & Leeat Yariv, 2010. "Network Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 218-244.
  2. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Consumer Protection and the Incentive to Become Informed," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 399-410, 04-05.
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  7. Andrea Galeotti, 2010. "Talking, Searching, And Pricing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1159-1174, November.
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  9. 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.
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  11. Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-González, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118, October.
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  14. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
  15. Morgan, John & Orzen, Henrik & Sefton, Martin, 2006. "An experimental study of price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 134-158, January.
  16. Blume, Lawrence E. & Easley, David & Kleinberg, Jon & Tardos, Éva, 2009. "Trading networks with price-setting agents," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 36-50, September.
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