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Search costs and equilibrium price dispersion in auction markets

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  • Backus, Matthew R.
  • Podwol, Joseph Uri
  • Schneider, Henry S.

Abstract

A leading explanation for price dispersion in posted-price markets is search costs. We incorporate this insight into a model of competing second-price auctions similar to eBay. By doing so, we extend the narrow literature on competing auctions to capture price dispersion, and grow the already large literature on price dispersion to include auctions. We provide evidence on search costs and price dispersion using data collected from eBay, identifying search costs by exploiting a discontinuity in the visibility of auctions due to eBay׳s search tool.

Suggested Citation

  • Backus, Matthew R. & Podwol, Joseph Uri & Schneider, Henry S., 2014. "Search costs and equilibrium price dispersion in auction markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 173-192.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:71:y:2014:i:c:p:173-192
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.06.005
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    2. Freeman, David J. & Kimbrough, Erik O. & Reiss, J. Philipp, 2020. "Opportunity cost, inattention and the bidder’s curse," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
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    4. Dominic Coey & Bradley J. Larsen & Brennan C. Platt, 2020. "Discounts and Deadlines in Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(12), pages 3748-3785, December.
    5. Ofer H Azar, 2015. "A Linear City Model with Asymmetric Consumer Distribution," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-13, June.
    6. Matthew Backus & Tom Blake & Steven Tadelis, 2015. "Cheap Talk, Round Numbers, and the Economics of Negotiation," NBER Working Papers 21285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Podwol, Joseph Uri & Schneider, Henry S., 2016. "Nonstandard bidder behavior in real-world auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 198-212.

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