Review of Industrial Organization

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 485–508 | Cite as

Search Fatigue

  • Bruce I. Carlin
  • Florian EdererEmail author


Consumer search is not only costly but also tiring. We characterize the intertemporal effects that search fatigue has on monopoly and oligopoly prices, the product lines offered by firms, and the provision of consumer assistance (i.e., advice). These effects vary based on the type of search that occurs among stores and within them. In contrast to standard search models, accounting for fatigue leads to product proliferation and time-varying prices, cyclical price dispersion, and consumer assistance. We analyze the welfare implications of search fatigue and discuss the conditions under which product proliferation and cyclical price dispersion are most pronounced.


Consumer search Fatigue Product proliferation Time-varying prices Cyclical price dispersion 



We wish to thank Larry White (the editor) and two anonymous referees for comments and suggestions that greatly improved the paper. We are also grateful to Ricardo Alonso, Antonio Bernardo, Simon Board, Vince Crawford, Phil Leslie, Steven Lippman, Konstantin Milbradt, Barry Nalebuff, Martin Oehmke, Heikki Rantakari, Richard Saouma, Joel Sobel, Kosuke Uetake, Miguel Villas-Boas, Ivo Welch, Kevin Williams, and Jidong Zhou for helpful discussions and suggestions, as well as to seminar participants at Michigan, UCLA, Yale, the Southwest Economic Theory conference, the Econometric Society North American Summer Meetings, and the USC-UCLA Finance Day.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCLA Anderson School of ManagementLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Yale School of ManagementNew HavenUSA

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