Econometrica: Sep 2008, Volume 76, Issue 5
Limited Information and Advertising in the U.S. Personal Computer Industry
Michelle Sovinsky GoereeTraditional discrete‐choice models assume buyers are aware of all products for sale. In markets where products change rapidly, the full information assumption is untenable. I present a discrete‐choice model of limited consumer information, where advertising influences the set of products from which consumers choose to purchase. I apply the model to the U.S. personal computer market where top firms spend over $2 billion annually on advertising. I find estimated markups of 19% over production costs, where top firms advertise more than average and earn higher than average markups. High markups are explained to a large extent by informational asymmetries across consumers, where full information models predict markups of one‐fourth the magnitude. I find that estimated product demand curves are biased toward being too elastic under traditional models. I show how to use data on media exposure to improve estimated price elasticities in the absence of micro ad data.
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