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Do Lower Search Costs Reduce Prices and Price Dispersion?

  • Pedro Pereira


    (Autoridade da Concorrência)

This paper presents a search model, for which a decrease in the search cost may lead to lower prices and to a lower price variance, but may also lead to the opposite. This result contrasts with some predictions about the impact of the Internet on prices, but fits well with the empirical literature on e-commerce.

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Paper provided by Portuguese Competition Authority in its series Working Papers with number 04.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pca:wpaper:04
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  1. Clay, Karen & Krishnan, Ramayya & Wolff, Eric, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 521-39, December.
  2. Benabou, Roland, 1988. "Search market equilibrium bilateral heterogeneity and repeat purchases," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8806, CEPREMAP.
  3. Brown, Jeffrey, 2000. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Working Paper Series rwp00-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. J. Yannis Bakos, 1997. "Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(12), pages 1676-1692, December.
  5. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Search costs and prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 55-60, January.
  6. David M Kreps & Robert Wilson, 2003. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000813, David K. Levine.
  7. 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.
  8. Dennis W. Carlton & Judith A. Chevalier, 2001. "Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 441-461 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
  10. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1990. "Advertising and Coordination," Discussion Papers 903, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  12. Pereira, Pedro, 2001. "Market power, cost reduction and consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1457-1473, November.
  13. Eric K. Clemons & Il-Horn Hann & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Price Dispersion and Differentiation in Online Travel: An Empirical Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(4), pages 534-549, April.
  14. MacMinn, Richard D, 1980. "Search and Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 308-27, April.
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