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Maximum likelihood estimation of search costs

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  • Moraga-González, José Luis
  • Wildenbeest, Matthijs R.

Abstract

In a recent paper Hong and Shum [2006. Using price distributions to estimate search costs. Rand Journal of Economics 37, 257-275] present a structural method to estimate search cost distributions. We extend their approach to the case of oligopoly and present a new maximum likelihood method to estimate search costs. We apply our method to a data set of online prices for different computer memory chips. The estimates suggest that the consumer population can be roughly split into two groups which either have quite high or quite low search costs. Search frictions confer a significant amount of market power to the firms: Despite more than 20 firms operating in each of the markets, we estimate price-cost margins to be around 25%. The paper also illustrates how the structural method can be employed to simulate the effects of the introduction of a sales tax.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 52 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (July)
Pages: 820-848

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:52:y:2008:i:5:p:820-848

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Waterson, Michael, 2003. "The role of consumers in competition and competition policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 129-150, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Non, Marielle C., 2008. "Advertising and consumer search in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 354-371, January.
  2. Wilson, Chris M, 2009. "Market Frictions: A Unified Model of Search and Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 13672, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2007. "On Mergers in Consumer Search Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-054/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2011. "An empirical model of search with vertically differentiated products," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(4), pages 729-757, December.
  5. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2014. "The Morphology of Price Dispersion," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Wilson, Chris, 2006. "Markets with Search and Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 131, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 Oct 2006.
  7. Kenneth Burdett & Guido Menzio, 2013. "(Q,S,s) Pricing Rules," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Yonghong An & Michael R Baye & Yingyao Hu & John Morgan & Matt Shum, 2010. "Identification and Estimation of Online Price Competition with an Unknown Number of Firms," Working Papers 2010-17, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Nov 2012.
  9. Babur De los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "Search with Learning," Working Papers 2012-03, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  10. Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Zsolt Sandor & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2008. "Nonparametric Estimation of the Costs of Non-Sequential Search," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-102/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L. & Sandor, Zsolt & Wildenbees, Matthijs R., 2010. "Nonsequential search equilibrium with search cost heterogeneity," IESE Research Papers D/869, IESE Business School.
  12. Rauh, Michael T., 2009. "Strategic complementarities and search market equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 959-978, July.
  13. Pieter Gautier & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Ronald Wolthoff, 2007. "Structural Estimation of Search Intensity: Do non-employed workers search hard enough?," 2007 Meeting Papers 695, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Yonghong An & Michael R. Baye & Yingyao Hu & John Morgan & Matt Shum, 2010. "Horizontal Mergers of Online Firms: Structural Estimation and Competitive Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 564, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  15. Maarten Janssen & Paul Pichler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2009. "Sequential Search with Incompletely Informed Consumers: Theory and Evidence from Retail Gasoline Markets," Vienna Economics Papers 0914, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  16. Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Zsolt Sandor & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, . "Do higher search costs make the markets less competitive?," Working Papers 2013-08, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  17. Monica Giulietti & Jesus Otero & Michael Waterson, 2010. "Pricing behaviour under competition in the UK electricity supply industry," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 478-503, July.
  18. Wilson, Chris M., 2012. "Market frictions: A unified model of search costs and switching costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1070-1086.

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