Revisiting the role of consumer search in competition policy

Vasas, Zita (2022) Revisiting the role of consumer search in competition policy. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis contains three independent studies on different aspects of consumer search for complex products. First, I carry out a systematic review of existing evidence on the effectiveness of nudge interventions to increase consumer search and switching in retail financial products. I find that nudges have limited impact on average and that informational nudges are less effective than nudges that increase ease and convenience or implement a major structural change in the decision-making environment. Second, I build a theoretical industrial organization model to assess welfare in equilibrium in a market where prices are observable but consumers need to incur a search cost to understand horizontally differentiated product features. I find that consumers tend to be better off when they do not invest in learning about the products but choose simply based on price, as it incentivises firms to compete on price more vigorously. Finally, I carry out an empirical analysis using survey data to establish whether shopping around can increase consumers’ awareness of product complexity. The main finding of this chapter is that some consumers who search before taking out a credit card are indeed more likely to agree that credit cards are complicated products but this relationship depends on what they use their credit cards for.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 13:40
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 13:40


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