The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Good & Too Much is Terrible

Consumer search and product variety have been studied extensively in both the marketing and economics literature for the past 50 years. The idea that consumer have heterogenous search costs which lead some consumers to become more informed about product information than others has been used to explain a number of phenomenon. However, past theoretical models assume that consumers make a single purchase at each shopping occasion and their budget and search costs are all absorbed by that single product purchase. Our paper extends the current literature by allowing for the observation that consumers may make multiple purchases as well as single product purchases. We find that their is an optimal number of products for which the consumer would chose to search, which is critically dependent on the degree to which the consumer becomes satiated by the products, and their preference for variety. What's more, we develop this in a framework amenable to empirical work which directly allows for the estimation of the consumer's satiation and preference for variety parameters.

Issue Date:
Jun 01 2012
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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Please contact William Allender ( for a copy of the manuscript that goes with this poster.

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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