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Consumer Protection and the Incentive to Become Informed

  • Mark Armstrong
  • John Vickers
  • Jidong Zhou

We discuss the impact of consumer protection policies on consumers' incentives to become informed of the best deals available in the market. In a market with costly information acquisition, we find that imposing a cap on suppliers' prices reduces the incentive to become informed of market conditions, with the result that prices paid by consumers (both informed and uninformed) may rise. In a related model where consumers have the ability to refuse to receive marketing, we find that this ability softens price competition and can make all consumers worse off. (JEL: D18, D83, L51) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 399-410

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:399-410
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  1. Fershtman, C. & Fishman, A., 1991. "The "Perverse" Effects of Wage and Price Controls in Search Markets," Papers 11-91, Tel Aviv.
  2. Simon P. Anderson & André de Palma, 2007. "Information Congestion: open access in a two-sided market," THEMA Working Papers 2007-10, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  3. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  4. Armstrong, Mark, 2008. "Interactions between competition and consumer policy," MPRA Paper 7258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Il-Horn Hann & Kai-Lung Hui & Sang-Yong T. Lee & Ivan P. L. Png, 2008. "Consumer Privacy and Marketing Avoidance: A Static Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(6), pages 1094-1103, June.
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