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Do Lower Search Costs Reduce Prices and Price Dispersion?

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  • Pedro Pereira

    () (Autoridade da Concorrência)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Pereira, 2004. "Do Lower Search Costs Reduce Prices and Price Dispersion?," Working Papers 04, Portuguese Competition Authority.
  • Handle: RePEc:pca:wpaper:04
    as

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    File URL: http://www.concorrencia.pt/download/WP04_LoSeCo.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. 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 521-539, December.
    3. Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 563-585.
    4. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1979. "A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 851-858, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Benabou Roland, 1993. "Search Market Equilibrium, Bilateral Heterogeneity, and Repeat Purchases," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 140-158, June.
    7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
    8. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Search costs and prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 55-60, January.
    9. Pereira, Pedro, 2001. "Market power, cost reduction and consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1457-1473, November.
    10. 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.
    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. J. Yannis Bakos, 1997. "Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(12), pages 1676-1692, December.
    13. MacMinn, Richard D, 1980. "Search and Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 308-327, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Pedro Pereira & José C. Pernías-Cerrillo, 2005. "Competing Against Simulated Equilibrium Price Dispersions: An Experiment On Internet-Assisted Search Markets," Working Papers 05-12, NET Institute.
    2. Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Pedro Pereira & José C. Pernías-Cerrillo, 2004. "Risk Attitudes and Internet Search Engines: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 04-03, NET Institute, revised Oct 2004.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Search; Price Levels; Price Dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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