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Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan

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  • Amil Petrin
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    Abstract

    I develop a technique useful for obtaining more precise estimates of demand and supply curves when constrained to market-level data. It augments the estimation routine with data on the average characteristics of consumers that purchase different products. I apply the technique to the automobile market, estimating the economic effects of the minivan introduction. I show that standard approaches yield results that are meaningfully different from those obtained with my extension. I report benefits accruing to both minivan and non-minivan consumers. I complete the welfare picture by measuring the extent of first- mover advantage and of profit cannibalization both initially by the innovator and later by the imitators. My results support a simple economic story where large improvements in consumers' standard of living arise from competition as firms, ignoring the externalities they impose on one another, cannibalize each others profits by continually seeking new goods that give them some temporary market power.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8227.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8227

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    Cited by:
    1. David E. Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization And The Gains From Variety," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 327, Econometric Society.
    2. C. Robert Clark, 2003. "Advertising Restrictions and Competition in the Children's Breakfast Cereal Industry / Restrictions et compétition publicitaire dans l’industrie des céréales pour enfants," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-30, CIRANO.
    3. Brynjolfsson, Erik & Smith, Michael D. & Yu, (Jeffrey) Hu, 2003. "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Working papers 4305-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Constructing quality-adjusted price indices: a comparison of hedonic and discrete choice models," Working Paper Series 0172, European Central Bank.
    5. Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2002. "Quality Adjustment for Spatially-Delineated Public Goods: Theory and Application to Cost-of-Living Indices in Los Angeles," Discussion Papers dp-02-10-, Resources For the Future.

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