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Determinants of Search for Nondurable Goods: An Empirical Assessment of the Economics of Information Theory

ROSEMARY J. AVERY
The Journal of Consumer Affairs
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Winter 1996), pp. 390-420
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23859579
Page Count: 31
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Determinants of Search for Nondurable Goods: An Empirical Assessment of the Economics of Information Theory
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Abstract

This paper examines the usefulness of Stigler's (1961) Economics of Information Theory in the study of consumer search in a market for frequently purchased, nondurable grocery items. The empirical model examines antecedent (pre-store) and point of purchase (in-store) search. It incorporates and contrasts economic incentives for search with noneconomic involvement-based motivations and perceived versus actual costs associated with search. Data used in the analysis were collected in a large midwestern city during 1990. Results indicate that Stigler's cost-benefit model provides a better fit for pre-store rather than in-store search activities. Pre-store search activities were found to be driven by time, monetary, and mobility constraints. Prestore search activity was not found to be significant in explaining instore search activities. In-store search activities were significantly explained by only household size. Shopping involvement was not found to be related to pre- or in-store activities. A comparison of objective and subjective measures of search costs rendered comparable results.

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