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  • Richard Manning

    (Department of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo)

  • Julian Manning

    (Department of Economics, University of New South Wales and Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

A consumer with diminishing marginal utility in consumption, who can search for lower prices, will balance the gains from spreading consumption evenly through time against the benefits of delaying consumption until lower prices are revealed. Optimal programs of consumption, savings and price are characterized for a general formulation of this problem. Intertemporal substitutability is measured by relative-risk aversion. Small relative-risk aversion is sufficient for the intuitive solution: As the best current price rises, more search and less consumption is done. The general model is adapted to special cases. Among other things, this shows that linear utility and sequential search implies calculable reservation prices and consumption only when search stops. However, this characterization is a consequence of the restriction to linear utility. Outside of this context reservation prices and consumption may not be calculable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9406001.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 17 Jun 1994
Date of revision: 17 Jun 1994
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9406001

Note: 24 pages, TeX file, macros included
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  1. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  2. McCall, John J, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-26, February.
  3. Carlson, John A & McAfee, R Preston, 1983. "Discrete Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 480-93, June.
  4. Morgan, Peter & Manning, Richard, 1985. "Optimal Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 923-44, July.
  5. Morgan, Peter B, 1983. "Search and Optimal Sample Sizes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 659-75, October.
  6. Manning, R & Morgan, Peter B, 1982. "Search and Consumer Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 203-16, April.
  7. Benhabib, Jess & Bull, Clive, 1983. "Job Search: The Choice of Intensity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 747-64, October.
  8. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  9. Veendorp, E. C. H., 1984. "Sequential search without reservation price," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-2), pages 53-57.
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