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Market Frictions: A Unified Model of Search and Switching Costs

  • Wilson, Chris M

Despite the existence of two vast literatures, very little is known about the potential differences or interactions between search and switching costs. This paper demonstrates the benefits of examining the two frictions in unison. First, the paper shows how subtle distinctions between the two costs can provide important differences in their effects upon consumer behaviour and market prices. In many cases, policymakers may prefer to reduce search costs rather than switching costs. Second, the paper illustrates a simple methodology for estimating the magnitude of both costs while demonstrating the potential bias that can arise from a single-cost approach.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13672.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13672
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  1. Kohn, Meir G. & Shavell, Steven, 1974. "The theory of search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 93-123, October.
  2. Joseph Farrell & Paul Klemperer, 2006. "Co-ordination and Lock-in: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Economics Papers 2006-W07, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Monica Giulietti & Jesus Otero & Michael Waterson, 2010. "Pricing behaviour under competition in the UK electricity supply industry," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 478-503, July.
  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. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
  6. Jeffrey M. Perloff & Steven C. Salop, 1985. "Equilibrium with Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 107-120.
  7. Paul Klemperer, 1995. "Competition when Consumers have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 515-539.
  8. Babur De los Santos, 2008. "Consumer Search on the Internet," Working Papers 08-15, NET Institute, revised Sep 2008.
  9. Waterson, Michael, 2001. "The role of consumers in competition and competition policy," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 607, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
  11. Cabral, Luís M B, 2012. "Switching Costs and Equilibrium Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 8970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Nickolay V. Moshkin & Ron Shachar, 2002. "The Asymmetric Information Model of State Dependence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(4), pages 435-454, August.
  13. Ali Hortaçsu & 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456.
  14. Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 0000. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Search Costs," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-019/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Christou, C. & Vettas, N., 2008. "On informative advertising and product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 92-112, January.
  16. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2006. "Information, Search, and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 2006-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  17. Jean-Pierre Dube & Guenter J. Hitsch & Peter Rossi, 2006. "Do Switching Costs Make Markets Less Competitive?," 2006 Meeting Papers 514, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Padilla, A. Jorge, 1992. "Mixed pricing in oligopoly with consumer switching costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 393-411, September.
  19. Monica Giulietti & Catherine Waddams Price & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Consumer Choice and Competition Policy: a Study of UK Energy Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 949-968, October.
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