Obfuscation and rational inattention in digitalized markets

  • This paper studies the behavior of competing firms in a duopoly with rational inattentive consumers. Firms play a sequential game in which they decide to obfuscate their individual prices before competing on price. Probabilistic demand functions are endogenously determined by the consumers’ optimal information strategy, which depends on the firms’ obfuscation choice and the consumers’ unrestricted prior beliefs. We show that the game may result in an obfuscation equilibrium with high prices where both firms obfuscate and a transparency equilibrium with low prices and no obfuscation, providing an argument for market regulation. Lower information costs and asymmetric prior beliefs about prices reduce the probability of an obfuscation equilibrium. Using data on Sweden, we document a decrease in price complexity and corresponding prices in the market for mobile phone subscriptions in the last two decades. Our model rationalizes these changes and explains why complexity and high prices persist in some but not all digitalized markets.

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Metadaten
Author:Aljoscha Janssen, Johannes Kasinger
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-582696
DOI:https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3779853
Parent Title (English):SAFE working paper ; No. 306
Series (Serial Number):SAFE working paper series (306)
Publisher:SAFE
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Working Paper
Language:English
Year of Completion:2021
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/02/09
Tag:Digitalized Markets; Obfuscation; Price Competition; Rational Inattention
Issue:February 4, 2021
Page Number:35
Institutes:Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / House of Finance (HoF)
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Center for Financial Studies (CFS)
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe (SAFE)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
Sammlungen:Universitätspublikationen
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht