When the Baby Cries at Night: Uninformed and Hurried Buyers in Non-Competitive Markets
AbstractWe study the entrance in a retail market of consumers who are less elastic because of hurriedness and lack of information. Theory predicts that firms react by increasing prices to expand surplus extraction, but this effect weakens as market competition increases. High frequency data from Italian pharmacies confirm these predictions. Monthly variation in the number of newborns at the city level generates exogenous changes in the number of less elastic buyers (the parents) who consume a basket of hygiene products demanded by more experienced and elastic consumers as well. We estimate that the number of newborns has a positive effect on the equilibrium price even if marginal costs are decreasing. We exploit exogenous variation in market competition generated by the Italian legislation concerning how many pharmacies should operate in a city as a function of the existing population. Using a Regression Discontinuity design we find that an increase in competition has a significant and negative effect on the capacity of sellers to extract surplus from less elastic buyers.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8856.
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
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