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Gain or Pain: Does Consumer Activity Reflect Utility Maximisation?

  • Yoonhee Tina Chang

    (School of Management, University of Bath)

  • Catherine Waddams Price

    ()

    (Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia)

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    Competition Authorities are introducing new informational remedies to help consumers search and switch more actively. Using a specially commissioned data set, and unique direct estimates of the gains, search and switching time which consumers anticipate, we examine the determinants of consumer activity in eight markets. We find that expected costs (and to some extent gains) do influence consumers as a utility maximising model would predict; but that their role is small, and other factors, particularly experience of switching in other markets, are also influential. We conclude that consumers’ confidence in their own estimates is crucial in encouraging market activity.

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    File URL: http://www.ccp.uea.ac.uk/publicfiles/workingpapers/CCP08-15.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia in its series Working Papers with number 08-15.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ccp:wpaper:wp08-15
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