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Add-on pricing in retail financial markets and the fallacies of consumer education

  • Kosfeld, Michael
  • Schüwer, Ulrich

This paper explores consequences of consumer education on prices and welfare in retail financial markets when some consumers are naive about shrouded add-on prices and firms try to exploit it. Allowing for different information and pricing strategies we show that education is unlikely to push firms to disclose prices towards all consumers, which would be socially effifficient. Instead, price discrimination emerges as a new equilibrium. Further, due to a feedback on prices, education that is good for consumers who become sophisticated may be bad for consumers who stay naive and even for the group of all consumers as a whole.

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Paper provided by Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt in its series SAFE Working Paper Series with number 47.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:47
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  1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2012. "Consumer protection and contingent charges," MPRA Paper 37239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. James J Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C Madrian, 2008. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002014, David K. Levine.
  4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2010. "Regulating misinformation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 247-257, April.
  5. Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 937, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Spiegler, Ran, 2014. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199334261.
  7. Carlin, Bruce I., 2009. "Strategic price complexity in retail financial markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 278-287, March.
  8. Miao, Chun-Hui, 2010. "Consumer myopia, standardization and aftermarket monopolization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 931-946, October.
  9. Utpal Bhattacharya & Andreas Hackethal & Simon Kaesler & Benjamin Loos & Steffen Meyer, 2012. "Is Unbiased Financial Advice to Retail Investors Sufficient? Answers from a Large Field Study," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(4), pages 975-1032.
  10. Henderson, Brian J. & Pearson, Neil D., 2011. "The dark side of financial innovation: A case study of the pricing of a retail financial product," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 227-247, May.
  11. Justine S. Hastings & Brigitte C. Madrian & William L. Skimmyhorn, 2012. "Financial Literacy, Financial Education and Economic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James M. Lacko & Janis K. Pappalardo, 2010. "The Failure and Promise of Mandated Consumer Mortgage Disclosures: Evidence from Qualitative Interviews and a Controlled Experiment with Mortgage Borrowers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 516-21, May.
  13. Bruce Ian Carlin & Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Obfuscation, Learning, and the Evolution of Investor Sophistication," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(3), pages 754-785.
  14. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
  15. de Meza, David & Reyniers, Diane, 2012. "Every shroud has a silver lining: The visible benefits of hidden surcharges," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 151-153.
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