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Prominence and Consumer Search

  • Mark Armstrong
  • John Vickers
  • Jidong Zhou

This paper examines the implications of "prominence" in search markets.� We model prominence by supposing that the prominent firm will be sampled first by all consumers.� If there are no systematic quality differences among firms, we find that the prominent firm will charge a lower price than its non-prominent rivals.� The impact of making a firm prominent is that it will typically lead to higher industry profit but lower consumer surplus and welfare.� The model is extended by introducing heterogeneous product qualities, in which case the firm with the highest-quality product has the greatest incentive to become prominent, and making it prominent will boost industry profit, consumer surplus and welfare.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper379.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 379.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:379
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. M. L. Weitzman, 1978. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Working papers 214, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ali Hortaç Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
  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. Susan Athey & Glenn Ellison, 2007. "Position Auctions with Consumer Search," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001633, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2006. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Working Papers 06-02, NET Institute, revised Sep 2006.
  7. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  8. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
  9. Perry, Motty & Wigderson, Avi, 1986. "Search in a Known Pattern," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 225-30, February.
  10. Robert, Jacques & Stahl, Dale O, II, 1993. "Informative Price Advertising in a Sequential Search Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 657-86, May.
  11. Wolinsky, Asher, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511, August.
  12. Maria Arbatskaya, 2007. "Ordered search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 119-126, 03.
  13. Liran Einav & Leeat Yariv, 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 175-187, Winter.
  14. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
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