IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cer/papers/wp433.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Consumer Reactions To Unobserved Changes in Price Schedules

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Katuscak

Abstract

Economic theory presumes that individuals respond to true marginal prices when de- ciding on the amount of goods and services they buy and many other economic decisions. However, learning about these marginal prices is often costly in terms of search time, cog- nitive effort or monetary outlays. This is likely to be true of price changes in subscription plans. Consumers may therefore opt to be satisfied with only an approximate knowledge of the relevant marginal prices. This paper presents an experiment that studies repeated consumer purchase and price information updating and acquisition decisions when param- eters of the price schedule are serially correlated but unknown. Subjects have an option to acquire the pricing information at a cost, or otherwise just update their beliefs based on the observation of the total cost of purchase. We find the following: (1) conditional on information acquisition decisions, the model of Bayesian updating provides a good approx- imation for revealed mean beliefs about the per-unit price held by subjects who appear to understand the experiment and/or report their expected cost of purchase accurately; it is not a good approximation for other subjects; (2) the demand for information decreases with the cost of information, as expected; (3) controlling for Bayesian beliefs and cost of information, the demand for information does not vary with the length of the remaining time horizon in which the information can be used, contrary to the theoretical prediction; (4) large positive surprises in the cost of purchase in the most recent period increase infor- mation demand, whereas negative surprises decrease it, relative to the no-surprise baseline, which is contrary to the theoretical prediction.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Katuscak, 2011. "Consumer Reactions To Unobserved Changes in Price Schedules," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp433, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp433
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cerge-ei.cz/pdf/wp/Wp433.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. de Bartolome, Charles A. M., 1995. "Which tax rate do people use: Average or marginal?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 79-96, January.
    2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    price scheme; complexity; consumer decisions;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp433. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jana Koudelkova). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/eiacacz.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.