This paper introduces a search problem where a consumer has to first become aware of an alternative, before being able to search it. Initially, the consumer is aware of only a few alternatives. During search, the consumer sequentially decides between searching alternatives he is already aware of and expanding awareness to discover more products. I show that the optimal policy for this search problem is fully characterized by simple reservation values. Moreover, I prove that the purchase outcome of a consumer optimally solving the search problem is equivalent to the consumer simply choosing the product offering the largest value on a predetermined index.
|Name||CentER Discussion Paper|
- sequential search
- limited awareness
- information aquisition