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A Note on Costly Sequential Search and Oligopoly Pricing (new title: Truly Costly Sequential Search and Oligopolistic Pricing,)


  • Maarten C. W. Janssen
  • José Luis Moraga Gonzales
  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest


We modify the paper of Stahl (1989) on sequential consumer search in an oligopoly context by relaxing the assumption that consumers obtain the first price quotation for free. When all price quotations are costly to obtain, a new equilibrium arises where consumers randomize between not searching at all and searching for one price. The region of parameters for which this equilibrium exists becomes larger as the number of shoppers decreases and/or the number of firms increases. The comparative statics properties of this new equilibrium are interesting. In particular, the expected price increases as search cost decreases, and is constant in the number of shoppers and in the number of firms. We show that the Diamond result never obtains with truly costly search.

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  • Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga Gonzales & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2004. "A Note on Costly Sequential Search and Oligopoly Pricing (new title: Truly Costly Sequential Search and Oligopolistic Pricing,)," CESifo Working Paper Series 1332, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Oligopolistic pricing with heterogeneous consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 243-268.
    2. Rafael Rob, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504.
    3. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1979. "A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 851-858, August.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
    5. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    6. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2004. "Consumer Search and Oligopolistic Pricing: An Empirical Investigation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-071/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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    sequential consumer search; oligopoly; price dispersion;

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