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Informative Advertising, Consumer Search and Transparency Policy

  • Wang, Chengsi

Information about a new or non-frequently purchased product is often produced by both sides of the market. We construct a monopoly pricing model consisting of both seller's information disclosure and consumer's information acquisition. The presence of consumer search, which lowers the probability of making sales, creates incentive for the monopolist to deter search. In contrast with most previous literature, we show that, partial information disclosure arises in equilibrium when the search cost is low. As the search cost increases to medium level, the monopolist hides information but lowers the price to prevent consumers from searching. When the search cost is very high, the monopolist charges high price and hides all information. The equilibrium price is thus non-monotonic in search cost. Information disclosure and consumer search co-exist only when the search cost is low, and thus complement each other. We show that transparency policies on advertising cannot improve social welfare. Nevertheless, they benefit consumers in a wide range of values of the search costs by improving matching quality and reducing the expense of searching. But for some medium levels of search costs, transparency policies hurt consumers due to the induced high price in equilibrium.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34977.

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Date of creation: 03 Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34977
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  1. Anderson, Simon P & Renault, Regis, 2000. "Consumer Information and Firm Pricing: Negative Externalities from Improved Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 721-42, August.
  2. Robert, Jacques & Stahl, Dale O, II, 1993. "Informative Price Advertising in a Sequential Search Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 657-86, May.
  3. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Mariëlle C. Non, 2005. "Advertising and Consumer Search in a Duopoly Model," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-022/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Simon P. Anderson & Régis Renault, 2002. "Advertising Content," Virginia Economics Online Papers 362, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  5. Maxim Ivanov, 2013. "Information revelation in competitive markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(1), pages 337-365, January.
  6. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Vaimaki, 2000. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cuñat, 2009. "Search, Design and Market Structure," Working Papers 09-17, NET Institute, revised Sep 2009.
  8. Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511.
  9. Maarten C. W. Janssen & Marielle C. Non, 2009. "Going Where the Ad Leads You: On High Advertised Prices and Searching Where to Buy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 87-98, 01-02.
  10. David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," Economics Series Working Papers 185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cuñat, 2010. "Information Gathering and Marketing," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 375-401, 06.
  12. Juan-JosÈ Ganuza & JosÈ S. Penalva, 2010. "Signal Orderings Based on Dispersion and the Supply of Private Information in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1007-1030, 05.
  13. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
  14. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1994. "Supplying Information to Facilitate Price Discrimination," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(2), pages 309-27, May.
  15. Ivanov, Maxim, 2009. "Niche market or mass market?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 217-220, December.
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