Durable Goods and Conformity
Is the variety of products supplied in markets a reflection of the diversity of consumers' preferences? In this paper, we argue that the distribution of durable goods offered in markets tends to be compressed relative to the distribution of consumers' underlying preferences. In particular, there are strong incentives for conformity in markets for durable goods. The reason for conformity is natural: durables (for example houses) are traded and as a result, demand for these goods is influenced by their resale value. Agents may like one product, but purchase another because of resale concerns. We show that (1) there is a tendency to conform to the average preference; (2) conformity depends primarily on the number of people with extreme preferences; (3) conformity increases with increases in durability, patience, and the likelihood of trade; and (4) equilibrium conformity is not necessarily optimal. Surprisingly, there tends to be too little conformity in equilibrium. Conformity also creates a demand for rental markets. Renting does not necessarily decrease conformity however. Instead, renting tends to exaggerate conformity in the owner-occupied market.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as House, Christopher L. and Emre Ozdenoren. “Durable Goods and Conformity.” RAND Journal of Economics 39, 2 (Summer 2008): 452-468.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977.
"Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2002.
"The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 113-143, February.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1998. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 6577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- I. Hendel & A. Lizzeri, 1999. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f7, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
- Alessandro Lizzeri & Igal Hendel, 1999.
"Adverse Selection in Durable Goods Markets,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1097-1115, December.
- Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
- Kandori, Michihiro, 1992.
"Social Norms and Community Enforcement,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
- Christopher L. House & John V. Leahy, 2000.
"An sS Model with Adverse Selection,"
NBER Working Papers
8030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1995. "Social Norms and Random Matching Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 79-109, April.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
- Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12028. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.