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Market equilibrium with search and computational costs

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  • Pedro Cosme Costa Vieira

    () (Faculdade de Economia do Porto)

Abstract

Although it is an empirical regularity that in the trade of homogeneous goods there is persistent price dispersion and buyers search for low-priced items, theoretically we find that in market equilibrium, when buyers are optimisers (the neo-classical framework), these regularities do not occur. Summing this undesirable theoretical result to the fact that the computation of optimal strategies is demanding, the relevance of using optimisation models in rationalising human behaviour is put in question. Even so, Lucas (1981) claims that optimisation models should not be abandoned because only these are “able to isolate those aspects of behaviour that remain invariant to policy shifts from those that do not”. In this work, following Lucas’ claim, we introduce economic agents as having computational limitations in the neo-classical optimisation model, which is new in the literature. As a result of this alteration to the model, in market equilibrium, we observe both price dispersion and search when buyers have information and computational limitations.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Cosme Costa Vieira, 2005. "Market equilibrium with search and computational costs," FEP Working Papers 173, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:173
    as

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    File URL: http://www.fep.up.pt/investigacao/workingpapers/05.04.02_WP173_pedro.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 689-711, July/Aug..
    2. Hey, John D., 1981. "Are optimal search rules reasonable? and vice versa? (And does it matter anyway?)," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 47-70, March.
    3. Axel, Bo, 1977. " Search Market Equilibrium," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(1), pages 20-40.
    4. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    5. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-368, September.
    6. Tesfatsion, Leigh S., 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics: Growing Economies from the Bottom Up," Staff General Research Papers Archive 5075, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Computational limitations; Optimisation; Search; Market equilibrium;

    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

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