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Price Competition and Consumer Confusion

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  • Chioveanu, Ioana
  • Zhou, Jidong

Abstract

This paper proposes a model in which identical sellers of a homogenous product compete in both prices and price frames (i.e., ways to present price information). We model price framing by assuming that firms’ frame choices affect the comparability of their price offers: consumers may fail to compare prices due to frame differentiation, and due to frame complexity. In the symmetric equilibrium the firms randomize over both price frames and prices, and make positive profits. This result is consistent with the observed coexistence of price and price frame dispersion in the market. We also show that (i) the nature of equilibrium depends on which source of consumer confusion dominates, and (ii) an increase in the number of firms can increase industry profits and harm consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Chioveanu, Ioana & Zhou, Jidong, 2009. "Price Competition and Consumer Confusion," MPRA Paper 17340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17340
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Crosetto & Alexia Gaudeul, 2011. "Do consumers prefer offers that are easy to compare? An experimental investigation," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Natalia Shestakova, 2010. "Overcoming Consumer Biases in the Choice of Pricing Schemes: A Lab Experiment," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp418, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. Crosetto, Paolo & Gaudeul, Alexia, 2012. "Do consumers prefer offers that are easy to compare? An experimental investigation," MPRA Paper 41462, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Yiquan Gu & Tobias Wenzel, 2014. "Strategic Obfuscation and Consumer Protection Policy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 632-660, December.
    5. Nick Vikander, 2011. "Capacity Constraints and Beliefs about Demand," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-015/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Huck, Steffen & Schmid, Julia & Wallace, Brian, 2013. "Price framing," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-314, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    7. Wenzel, Tobias, 2014. "Consumer myopia, competition and the incentives to unshroud add-on information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 89-96.
    8. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Nakajima, Daisuke, 2013. "Choice by iterative search," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
    9. Huck, Steffen & Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Consumer behavioural biases in competition: A survey," MPRA Paper 31794, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bounded rationality; framing; frame dispersion; incomplete preferences; price competition; price dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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