Prices, Product Differentiation, and Heterogeneous Search Costs
We study price formation in the standard model of consumer search for differentiated products but allow for search cost heterogeneity. In doing so, we dispense with the usual assumption that all consumers search at least once in equilibrium. This allows us to analyze the manner in which prices affect the decision to search rather than to not search at all, which is an important but often neglected aspect of the price mechanism. Recognizing the role the equilibrium price plays in consumersâ€™ participation decisions turns out to be critical for understanding how search costs affect market power. This is because the two margins that determine prices - the intensive search margin, or search intensity, and the extensive search margin, or search participation - may be affected in opposing directions by a change in search costs. When search costs go up, fewer consumers decide to search, which modifies the search composition of demand such that demand can become more elastic. At the same time, the consumers who choose to search reduce their search intensity, which makes demand less elastic. Whether the effect on the extensive or the intensive search margin dominates depends on the range and shape of the search cost density. We identify conditions for higher search costs to result in higher, constant, or lower prices. Similar results are obtained when the marginal gains from search vary across consumers.
|Date of creation:||2014|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich|
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo-group.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Oligopolistic pricing with heterogeneous consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 243-268.
- Marco A. Haan & José L. Moraga‐González, 2011.
"Advertising for Attention in a Consumer Search Model,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 552-579, May.
- Haan, Marco A. & Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L., 2009. "Advertising for attention in a consumer search model," IESE Research Papers D/794, IESE Business School.
- Rauh, Michael T., 2009. "Strategic complementarities and search market equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 959-978, July.
- Michael T. Rauh, 2006. "Strategic Complementarities and Search Market Equilibrium," Working Papers 2006-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
- 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.
- Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1978. "A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Discussion Papers 335, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cunat, 2012. "Search, Design, and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1140-1160, April.
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cuñat, 2009. "Search, Design and Market Structure," Working Papers 09-17, NET Institute, revised Sep 2009.
- Benabou Roland, 1993. "Search Market Equilibrium, Bilateral Heterogeneity, and Repeat Purchases," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 140-158, June.
- Benabou, Roland, 1988. "Search market equilibrium bilateral heterogeneity and repeat purchases," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8806, CEPREMAP.
- Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
- Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2008. "Prominence and Consumer Search," Economics Series Working Papers 379, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2015. "Consumer Search and Double Marginalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1683-1710, June.
- Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2014. "Consumer Search and Double Marginalization," Vienna Economics Papers 1503, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
- Chen, Yongmin & Zhang, Tianle, 2011. "Equilibrium price dispersion with heterogeneous searchers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 645-654.
- Chen, Yongmin & Zhang, Tianle, 2009. "Equilibrium price dispersion with heterogeneous searchers," MPRA Paper 16490, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Multiproduct search," MPRA Paper 37139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Wilson, Chris M., 2010. "Ordered search and equilibrium obfuscation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 496-506, September.
- 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.
- Anderson, S.P. & Renault, R., 1997. "Pricing, Product Diversity and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," Papers 97.481, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, product diversity, and search costs: a Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond model," Virginia Economics Online Papers 335, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Rauh, Michael T., 2004. "Wage and price controls in the equilibrium sequential search model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1287-1300, December.
- Mark Armstrong & Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Paying for Prominence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages 368-395, November.
- Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Paying for prominence," MPRA Paper 30529, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Menezes, Flavio M., 2008. "An Introduction to Auction Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199275991.
- Mariano Tappata, 2009. "Rockets and feathers: Understanding asymmetric pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 673-687.
- Kohn, Meir G. & Shavell, Steven, 1974. "The theory of search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 93-123, October.
- Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2012. "Consumer Search and Vertical Relations: The Triple Marginalization Problem," Vienna Economics Papers 1206, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
- 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. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4889. 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: (Klaus Wohlrabe)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.