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Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization


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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1.1 Bibliographic Notes I Anticipating Future Preferences 2 Dynamically Inconsistent Preferences I: Unconstrained Contracting 2.1 The Multi-Selves Model 2.1.1 Naivety 2.2 Monopoly Pricing 2.2.1 Optimal Price Schemes for Sophisticated Consumers 2.2.2 Optimal Price Schemes for Naive Consumers 2.2.3 Screening the Consumer's Type 2.3 Competitive Pricing 2.4 Welfare Analysis 2.5 Educating Naive Consumers 2.6 The Interpretation of Naivety 2.7 Two Applications 2.8 Other Topics 2.8.1 The (?, ?) Model 2.8.2 Preference Heterogeneity 2.9 Summary 2.10 Bibliographic Notes 3 Dynamically Inconsistent Preferences II: Constrained Contracting 3.1 Two-Part Tariffs 3.1.1 Departure from Marginal-Cost Pricing 3.1.2 Welfare Analysis 3.2 Destabilization of Commitment Devices: Renegotiation and Spot Market Competition 3.3 Self-Control 3.3.1 Implications for Monopoly Pricing 3.3.2 Do Self-Control Costs Hamper Competition? 3.4 Summary 3.5 Bibliographic Notes 4 Dynamically Inconsistent Preferences III: Partial Naivety 4.1 Magnitude Naivety 4.1.1 Monopoly Pricing 4.1.2 Are More Sophisticated Consumers Always Better Off? 4.2 Frequency Naivety 4.2.1 First-Best Monopoly Pricing 4.2.2 Second-Best Monopoly Pricing 4.2.3 Does Competition Curb Exploitation? 4.3 Summary 4.4 Bibliographic Notes 5 Biased Beliefs without Dynamic Inconsistency 5.1 Monopoly Pricing with Over-Optimistic Consumers 5.1.1 Comparison with Related Models 5.2 Overconfidence: Three-Part Tariffs 5.3 Unforeseen Contingencies: Add-On Pricing 5.4 A Summary Exercise: Insurance Markets with Biased Consumers 5.4.1 Equilibrium Analysis when Subjective Beliefs are Observable 5.4.2 Equilibrium Analysis when Subjective Beliefs are Private Information 5.5 Summary 5.6 Bibliographic notes A Appendix to Part I: A Decision-Theoretic Perspective A.1 The Multi-Selves Model A.2 Self-Control Preferences A.3 The Relation between Self-Control Preferences and the Multi-Selves Model A.4 Other Classes of Temptation-Driven Preferences A.5 Bibliographic Notes II Responding to Market Complexity 6 Sampling-Based Reasoning: Price Competition and Product Differentiation 6.1 A Sampling-Based Choice Procedure 6.2 Price Competition and Technology Adoption 6.2.1 Nash Equilibrium 6.2.2 Welfare Analysis 6.3 Spurious Product Differentiation 6.3.1 Nash Equilibrium 6.3.2 Product Complexity as a Differentiation Device 6.4 Can the Market Educate Consumers? 6.5 Summary 6.6 Bibliographic Notes 7 Sampling-Based Reasoning: Obfuscation 7.1 A Model of Competitive Obfuscation 7.1.1 Nash Equilibrium 7.1.2 Welfare Analysis 7.2 Production Inefficiencies 7.3 Multi-Dimensional Prices 7.4 A Market Intervention: Introducing Simple" Options 7.5 Summary 7.6 Bibliographic Notes 8 Coarse Reasoning 8.1 A Modeling Framework 8.2 Complex Price Patterns as a Discrimination Device 8.2.1 "DeBruijn" Price Sequences 8.2.2 Conditions for Profitability of Complex Price Patterns 8.3 Limited Understanding of Adverse Selection 8.3.1 A Buyer-Seller Example 8.3.2 A Benchmark: A Bayesian-Rational Buyer 8.3.3 A Coarse" Buyer 8.3.4 Action-Dependent Feedback 8.4 Summary 8.5 Bibliographic Notes III Reference Dependence 9 Loss Aversion 9.1 Expected Price as a Reference Point: Monopoly Pricing 9.1.1 Reduced Price Variability 9.1.2 Impact on Expected Prices 9.2 Price Uniformity in a Duopoly Setting: Kinked" Demand 9.3 Expected Consumption as a Reference Point: An Attachment Effect" 9.3.1 Personal Equilibrium 9.3.2 Price Randomization 9.4 Discussion 9.4.1 Actual Prices as Reference Points 9.4.2 Pleasant Surprises 9.5 Summary 9.6 Bibliographic Notes 10 Inertia I: Price Competition 10.1 Price Competition under Consumer Inertia 10.2 Price-Frame Competition 10.2.1 Nash Equilibrium 10.2.2 Equilibrium Properties 10.2.3 Two Market Interventions 10.3 Consumer Switching 10.4 Asymmetric Default Assignment 10.5 A Few General Remarks 10.5.1 More than Two Frames 10.5.2 Revealed Preferences 10.6 Summary 10.7 Bibliographic Notes 11 Inertia II: Costly Marketing 261 11.1 A Model of Competitive Marketing 11.2 Nash Equilibrium 11.3 The Effective Marketing Property 11.4 Discussion 11.5 Summary 11.6 Bibliographic Notes IV Discussion 12 Recurring Themes 12.1 Complex Pricing Strategies 12.2 Spurious Variety 12.3 Market Transactions as a Form of Speculative Trade 12.4 How Effective are Competition and Consumer Protection Policies? 12.5 Externalities between Rational and Boundedly Rational Consumers 12.6 Conclusion 13 But Can't we Get the Same Thing with a Standard Model? 13.1 Rationalization via Modified Information 13.2 Rationalization via Modified Preferences 13.3 Rationalization via Endogenization 13.4 Discussion 13.5 Epilogue 13.6 Bibliographic Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Professor of Economics at Tel Aviv University and University College London


"Nobody thinks like Adam Smith when buying a toothbrush, but this is the assumption of consumer behavior offered in traditional economics textbooks. Marketing experts used to laugh at such naivety, but they will have to take economic theory more seriously from now on. Ran Spiegler's book takes on the challenge of rewriting the theory of industrial organization without the classical assumption that economic agents are all rational supermen. This is an important book that nobody working on industrial organization will wish to be without."--Ken Binmore, University College London "Spiegler's Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization is a beautifully written book. He makes a compelling case that understanding what happens when boundedly rational consumers meet sophisticated firms is both intellectually interesting and practically important. He has a wonderful feel for using rigorous models to clarify arguments and develops insights from a number of branches of the emerging literature in a parsimonious way. It is a must read book."--Glenn Ellison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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