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Simple Market Equilibria with Rationally Inattentive Consumers

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  • Filip Matejka
  • Alisdair McKay

Abstract

We study a market with rationally inattentive consumers who are unsure of the terms of the offers made by firms, but can acquire information about the terms at a cost. In a symmetric equilibrium, the price set by firms is continuously increasing in the cost of information for consumers and decreasing in the number of firms operating. In addition, favorable a priori information about a firm leads it to set a higher price, and a new entrant can increase demand for incumbents. When consumers have heterogeneous costs of information, firms selling low-quality products may choose to set the highest prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Filip Matejka & Alisdair McKay, 2012. "Simple Market Equilibria with Rationally Inattentive Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 24-29, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:24-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-1277, November.
    2. Filip Matêjka & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 272-298.
    3. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
    4. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2009. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 769-803.
    5. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    6. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    7. Glenn Ellison & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "A search cost model of obfuscation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 417-441, September.
    8. Christopher A. Sims, 2006. "Rational Inattention: Beyond the Linear-Quadratic Case," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 158-163.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filip Matejka, 2013. "Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments," 2013 Meeting Papers 798, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Frank Huettner, & Tamer Boyaci, & Yalcin Akcay, 2016. "Consumer choice under limited attention when options have different information costs," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-16-04, ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 04 Oct 2016.
    3. Alessandro Pavan, 2014. "Attention, Coordination, and Bounded Recall," Discussion Papers 1576, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Andrei Matveenko, 2017. "Logit, CES, and Rational Inattention," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp593, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    5. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2015. "Too Much Attention on Low Prices? Loss Leading in a Model of Sales with Salient Thinkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 10813, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:131-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Michael Grubb, 2015. "Behavioral Consumers in Industrial Organization: An Overview," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(3), pages 247-258, November.
    8. Michael Grubb, 2015. "Failing to Choose the Best Price: Theory, Evidence, and Policy," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(3), pages 303-340, November.
    9. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Competition for Attention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 481-513.
    10. Steve, Heinke & Niels, Warmuth, 2016. "A Rational Inattention Perspective on Equilibrium Asset Pricing under Heterogeneous Information with Structural Breaks and Market Efficiency," MPRA Paper 68715, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Luo, Yulei & Young, Eric, 2013. "Rational Inattention in Macroeconomics: A Survey," MPRA Paper 54267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Tamer Boyaci & Yalçin Akçay, 2016. "Pricing when customers have limited attention," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-16-01, ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 19 Jan 2017.
    13. Matějka, Filip, 2015. "Rigid pricing and rationally inattentive consumer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PB), pages 656-678.
    14. Mariana Cunha & António Osório & Ricardo Ribeiro, 2016. "Endogenous product design and quality with rationally inattentive consumers," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 03, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

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