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Oligopolistic Competition and Search Without Priors

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  • Alexei Parakhonyak

Abstract

I study a model of oligopolistic competition in which consumers search for prices, but have no idea about the underlying price distribution. Consumers’ behaviour satisfies four consistency requirements such that beliefs about the underlying distribution maximize Shannon entropy. I derive the optimal stopping rule and equilibrium price distribution of the model. Unlike in Stahl (1989), the expected price is decreasing in the number of firms. Moreover, consumers can benefit from being uninformed, if the number of firms is sufficiently large.
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Suggested Citation

  • Alexei Parakhonyak, 2014. "Oligopolistic Competition and Search Without Priors," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(576), pages 594-606, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v::y:2014:i:576:p:594-606
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2014.124.issue-576
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 689-711, July/Aug..
    2. Maarten Janssen & Paul Pichler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2011. "Oligopolistic markets with sequential search and production cost uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 444-470, September.
    3. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    4. Dana, James D, Jr, 1994. "Learning in an Equilibrium Search Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 745-771, August.
    5. Chou, Chien-fu & Talmain, Gabriel, 1993. "Nonparametric search," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 771-784.
    6. Michael Rothschild, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown: A Summary," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 1, pages 293-294 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Mariano Tappata, 2009. "Rockets and feathers: Understanding asymmetric pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 673-687.
    8. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
    9. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose Luis & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2005. "Truly costly sequential search and oligopolistic pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 451-466, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dieter Pennerstorfer & Philipp Schmidt-Dengler & Nicolas Schutz & Christoph R. Weiss & Biliana Yontcheva, 2015. "Information and Price Dispersion. Theory and Evidence," WIFO Working Papers 502, WIFO.
    2. Alexei Parakhonyak & Anton Sobolev, 2015. "Non‐Reservation Price Equilibrium and Search without Priors," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 887-909, May.
    3. repec:eee:indorg:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:252-272 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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