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Attention competition

  • Andreas M. Hefti

I present a game-theoretic model where economic competition and attention competition are interdependent. On the one hand the effort to attract consumer attention depends on the value of attention to the firm which depends on the grade of price competition among all perceived firms. On the other hand attracting attention involves costs which must be covered by the earnings from competition. It is the task of this paper to clarify the consequences of such an interdependence between attention competition and economic competition for prices, attention effort and market structure as determined by the strategic equilibrium. Under limited attention the market as perceived by consumers and not the effective market is relevant to the firms which implies that prices also reflect the scarcity of attention. Less attentive consumers lead to higher prices but at the same time getting attention is more valuable which intensifies the competition for attention and leads to higher attention costs. I show that if attention competition is relatively inelastic or the commodities are strong substitutes then the gains from consumer inattention outweigh the costs of attracting attention which leads to higher profits and larger effective markets.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 028.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:028
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  1. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1605-1622, October.
  2. Jordi Mondria & Thomas Wu & Yi Zhang, 2008. "The Determinants of International Investment and Attention Allocation: Using Internet Search Query Data," Working Papers tecipa-326, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2004. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," NBER Working Papers 10570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Gabaix, Xavier & Laibson, David Isaac & Moloche, Guillermo & Stephen, Weinberg, 2003. "The allocation of attention: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 47339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  7. Andreas M. Hefti, 2011. "Attention competition," ECON - Working Papers 028, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search and Cross-Selling in Electronic Markets," Working Papers 07-35, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
  9. Hauser, John R & Wernerfelt, Birger, 1990. " An Evaluation Cost Model of Consideration Sets," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 393-408, March.
  10. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  11. Josef Falkinger, 2003. "Attention Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 1079, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2005. "Lessons About Markets from the Internet," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 139-158, Spring.
  13. Falkinger, Josef, 2005. "Limited Attention as the Scarce Resource in an Information-Rich Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 1538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  15. Andreas Hefti, 2011. "On uniqueness and stability of symmetric equilibria in differentiable symmetric games," ECON - Working Papers 018, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  16. Michelle Sovinsky Goeree, 2008. "Limited Information and Advertising in the U.S. Personal Computer Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(5), pages 1017-1074, 09.
  17. Peng, Lin, 2005. "Learning with Information Capacity Constraints," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 307-329, June.
  18. Huberman, Gur, 2001. "Familiarity Breeds Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 659-80.
  19. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
  20. Gifford, Sharon, 1997. "Limited attention and the role of the venture capitalist," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 459-482, November.
  21. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
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