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Information Congestion: open access in a two-sided market


  • Simon P. Anderson

    () (Department of Economics, University of Virginia, PO Box 400182, Charlottesville VA 22904-4128, USA)

  • André de Palma

    () (Member of the Institut Universitaire de France, ThEMA, Université de Cergy- Pontoise, 33 Bd. du Port, 95011, Cergy Cedex, France.)


Advertising messages compete for scarce attention. “Junk” mail, “spam” e-mail, and telemarketing calls need both parties to exert effort to generate transactions. Message recipients supply attention depending on average message benefit, while senders are motivated by profits. Costlier message transmission may improve message quality so more messages are examined. Too many messages may be sent, or the wrong ones. A Do-Not-Call policy beats a ban, but too many individuals opt out. A monopoly gatekeeper performs better than personal access pricing if nuisance costs to receivers are moderate.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon P. Anderson & André de Palma, 2007. "Information Congestion: open access in a two-sided market," THEMA Working Papers 2007-10, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  • Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2007-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Avinash Dixit & Victor Norman, 1978. "Advertising and Welfare," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
    2. 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.
    3. Timothy Van Zandt, 2004. "Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 542-560, Autumn.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Market Provision of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 947-972.
    5. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    6. Engers, Maxim & Gans, Joshua S, 1998. "Why Referees Are Not Paid (Enough)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1341-1349, December.
    7. Willmore, C., 1999. "A Penny for your Thoughts: E-Mail and the Under-Valuation of Expert Time," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 551, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    8. Bagwell, Kyle, 2007. "The Economic Analysis of Advertising," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Consumer Protection and the Incentive to Become Informed," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 399-410, 04-05.
    2. Chokri Aloui & Khaïreddine Jebsi, 2010. "Optimal pricing of a two-sided monopoly platform with a one-sided congestion effect," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 57(4), pages 423-439, December.

    More about this item


    information overload; congestion; advertising; common property resource; two-sided markets; junk mail; email; telemarketing; Do Not Call List; message pricing policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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