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Fashion, Styling, and the Within-Season Decline in Automobile Prices

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Author Info

  • Pashigian, B Peter
  • Bowen, Brian
  • Gould, Eric

Abstract

Between 1954 and 1989 the seasonal variation in retail new car prices declined, while the annual percentage decline in used car prices lessened. To explain these long-term changes, this article suggests that a rise in the cost of a major model change has reduced the frequency of major model changes, changed the characteristics of new models, and resulted in smaller within-season price declines. New cars of adjacent model years have become closer substitutes as the importance of the annual model change has lessened. The American automobile has slowly become less of a fashion product because it has become increasingly costly to supply frequent styling changes. In contrast, the within-season price decline in women's apparel has increased over time as fashion has become more important. Reasons for the different price patterns are investigated. Copyright 1995 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 281-309

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:38:y:1995:i:2:p:281-309

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Fiona Scott Morton & Florian Zettelmeyer & Jorge Silva Risso, 2000. "Internet Car Retailing," NBER Working Papers 7961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Copeland, Adam & Hall, George J., 2005. "Prices, Production and Inventories over the Automotive Model Year," Working Papers 2, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  3. Carol Corrado & Wendy Dunn & Maria Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Courty, Pascal & Li, Hao, 1999. "Timing of Seasonal Sales," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 545-72, October.
  5. Avner Offer, 2005. "The Markup for Lemons: Quality and Uncertainty in American and British Used-Car Markets c.1953-1973," Economics Series Working Papers 2005-W60, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Ana Aizcorbe & Benjamin Bridgman & Jeremy Nalewaik, 2009. "Heterogeneous car buyers: a stylized fact," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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