Bulls and bears in. the car park: an application of stock market and local rule theory to the behaviour of shoppers

This paper attempts to derive predictions of consumer behaviour from nonlinear dynamics and local rule theory. In particular, a model that was originally formulated to predict performance in the stock market was applied to anticipate the effects of price changes to car parking behaviour. The degree of crowd influence and fundamental bias were designated as the key determinants of consumer responses. The results revealed that small price changes to parking fees created a transient pattern of unstable behaviour. Ultimately, parking behaviour returned to the baseline pattern but at a different level. These findings could be readily accommodated by, and generally predicted from, the tenets of complexity theory.