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Prominence, Complexity, and Pricing

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  • Chioveanu, Ioana

Abstract

This paper analyzes prominence in a homogeneous product market where two firms simultaneously choose both prices and price complexity levels. Complexity limits competing offers' comparability and results in consumer confusion. Confused consumers are more likely to buy from the prominent firm. In equilibrium there is dispersion in both prices and price complexity. The nature of equilibrium depends on prominence. Compared to its rival, the prominent firm makes higher profit, associates a smaller price range with lowest complexity, puts lower probability on lowest complexity, and sets a higher average price. However, higher prominence may benefit consumers and, conditional on choosing lowest complexity, the prominent firm's average price is lower, which is consistent with confused consumers' bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Chioveanu, Ioana, 2017. "Prominence, Complexity, and Pricing," MPRA Paper 81078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:81078
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chioveanu, Ioana, 2020. "A more general model of price complexity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    2. Chioveanu, Ioana, 2019. "Prominence, complexity, and pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 551-582.
    3. Samir Mamadehussene, 2020. "The Interplay Between Obfuscation and Prominence in Price Comparison Platforms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4843-4862, October.
    4. Gu, Yiquan & Wenzel, Tobias, 2020. "Curbing obfuscation: Empower consumers or regulate firms?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    5. Zongrun Wang & Mei Yang, 2020. "Effective allocation of financial services intensity and its impact on channel competition," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 41(8), pages 1473-1492, December.
    6. Janssen, Aljoscha & Kasinger, Johannes, 2021. "Obfuscation and rational inattention in digitalized markets," SAFE Working Paper Series 306, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    7. Janssen, Aljoscha & Kasinger, Johannes, 2021. "Obfuscation and Rational Inattention in Digitalized Markets," Working Paper Series 1379, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    oligopoly markets; consumer confusion; prominence; price complexity; price dispersion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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