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Information and Prices with Capacity Constraints

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  • Benjamin Lester

Abstract

In the theoretical literature on consumer search, one conclusion is nearly universal: as buyers become better able to observe and compare prices ex ante, sellers will set lower prices in equilibrium. In this paper, I examine a standard consumer search model with one small -- yet often relevant -- additional restriction: I assume that sellers are capacity constrained. In this environment, I illustrate that the conventional wisdom regarding information and prices does not necessarily hold: having more informed consumers can lead to a decrease in prices, have no effect at all, or even lead to an increase in prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Lester, 2011. "Information and Prices with Capacity Constraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1591-1600, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:4:p:1591-1600
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Albaek, Svend & Mollgaard, Peter & Overgaard, Per B, 1997. "Government-Assisted Oligopoly Coordination? A Concrete Case," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 429-443, December.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 2000. "Wage and Technology Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 585-607.
    3. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
    4. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    5. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
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