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Competing for Consumer Inattention

  • Geoffroy de Clippel

    (Dept. of Economics, Brown University)

  • Kfir Elias

    (Tel Aviv University & University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

  • Kareen Rozen

    (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)

Consumers purchase multiple types of goods and services, but may be able to examine only a limited number of markets for the best price. We propose a simple model which captures these features, conveying some new insights. A firm's price can deflect or draw attention to its market, and consequently, limited attention introduces a new dimension of competition across markets. We fully characterize the resulting equilibrium, and show that the presence of partially attentive consumers improves consumer welfare as a whole. When consumers are less attentive, they are more likely to miss the best offer in each market; but the enhanced cross-market competition decreases average price paid, as leading firms try to stay under the consumers' radar.

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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1901.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Political Economy (December 2014), 122(6): 1203-1234
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1901
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  1. Mark Armstrong & Yongmin Chen, 2009. "Inattentive Consumers and Product Quality," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 411-422, 04-05.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  3. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Competition for Attention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 481-513.
  4. Michael Woodford, 2008. "Information-Constrained State-Dependent Pricing," NBER Working Papers 14620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1980. "A Model in Which an Increase in the Number of Sellers Leads to a Higher Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1575-79, September.
  7. Spiegler, Ran, 2011. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195398717, December.
  8. Spiegler, Ran, 2006. "Competition over agents with boundedly rational expectations," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(2), pages 207-231, June.
  9. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
  11. John K.‐H. Quah & Bruno Strulovici, 2012. "Aggregating the Single Crossing Property," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(5), pages 2333-2348, 09.
  12. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
  13. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
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