This paper characterizes equilibrium outcomes in consumer search markets taking the cost of going back to stores already searched explicitly into account. We show that the optimal sequential search rule under costly revisits is very different from the traditional reservation price rule in that it is non-stationary and not independent of previously sampled prices. We explore the implications of costly revisits on market equilibrium in two celebrated search models. In the Wolinsky model, some consumers search beyond the first firm. In this class of models, costly revisits do make a substantive difference and their impact can be of the same order of magnitude as the initial search cost. In the Stahl oligopoly search model where consumers do not search beyond the first firm, there remains a unique symmetric equilibrium that has firms use pricing strategies that are identical to the perfect recall case.
In this article, we consider the impact of personal contacts on the labor market outcome. Unlike previous studies, we do not assume any particular network structure or vacancies communication protocol. Instead, we state three general properties of matching functions that allow us to establish the existence and uniqueness of equilibrium and characterize the impact of social ties on the labor market. In particular, we show that a monotonically increasing matching function in socialization level is a necessary and sufficient condition for having monotonically decreasing unemployment and increasing wage and market tightness. However, the same does not apply to vacancy rate. We establish a condition under which a monotonically increasing matching function produces a vacancy rate that first increases in socialization level, but then decreases.
This paper examines the effect of price matching guarantees (PMGs) on market outcomes in a sequential search model. PMGs are simultaneously chosen with prices and some consumers (shoppers) know the firms’ decisions before buying, while others (non-shoppers) enter a shop before observing the price and whether or not the firm has a PMG. In such an environment, PMGs increase the value of buying the good and therefore increase consumers’ reservation prices. This increase is so large that even after accounting for the possible execution of PMGs, firms’ profits are larger in an equilibrium where PMGs are offered than in an equilibrium without PMGs. We also consider the incentives of firms to choose PMGs and show that an equilibrium where all firms offer PMGs does not exist because of a free-riding problem.
This article analyzes a sequential search model where firms face identical but stochastic production costs, the realizations of which are unknown to consumers. We characterize a perfect Bayesian equilibrium satisfying a reservation price property and provide a sufficient condition for such an equilibrium to exist. We show that (i) firms set on average higher prices and make larger profits compared to the scenario where consumers observe production costs, (ii) expected prices and consumer welfare can be non-monotonic in the number of firms, and (iii) the impact of production cost uncertainty vanishes as the number of firms becomes very large.