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The Effects of Consumer Protection on Sales Signs, Consumer Search and Competition

Chris M. Wilson
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Chris M. Wilson: University of East Anglia

Industrial Organization from EconWPA

Abstract: Within a one-shot, duopoly game, we show that firms cannot use false in- store price comparisons to deter rational consumers from further beneficial price search in an effort to create market power. However, by introducing a consumer protection authority that monitors price comparisons, we formalise Nelson’s (1974) conjecture by showing that ‘middle-order’ monitoring can actually facilitate the deception of fully rational consumers, to deter them from otherwise optimal search. Despite this effect, we show that no increase in monitoring can ever harm consumers due to a second, larger effect that improves consumer information and increases the intensity of price competition.

Keywords: Comparative Price Advertising; Deception; Obfuscation; Cheap Talk (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L10 D43 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-mic and nep-mkt
Date: 2005-10-24
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 24
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http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/io/papers/0510/0510007.pdf (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: The Effects of Consumer Protection on Sales Signs, Consumer Search and Competition (2005) Downloads
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Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0510007

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