Search Fatigue

30 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2012 Last revised: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Bruce I. Carlin

Bruce I. Carlin

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Florian Ederer

Yale School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2019


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 whether search is all-or-nothing or sequential in nature, whether learning takes place, and whether consumers exhibit brand loyalty. In contrast to standard search models, accounting for fatigue leads to product proliferation, time-varying prices and consumer assistance. We analyze the welfare implications of search fatigue and highlight the novel empirical implications that our analysis generates.

Keywords: consumer search, fatigue, product proliferation, time-varying prices, cyclical price dispersion

JEL Classification: D83, L13, D03, G02

Suggested Citation

Carlin, Bruce I. and Ederer, Florian, Search Fatigue (2019). Review of Industrial Organization, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 485-508, May 2019., Available at SSRN: or

Bruce I. Carlin

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Florian Ederer (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
United States


Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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