Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Explicit Evidence of an Implicit Contract

Contents:

Author Info

  • Andrew T. Young

    ()
    (College of Business and Economics, Department of Economics, West Virginia University, USA)

  • Daniel Levy

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; Department of Economics, Emory University, USA; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

Abstract

We offer the first direct evidence of an implicit contract in a goods market. The evidence comes from the market for Coca-Cola. We demonstrate that the Coca-Cola Company left a written evidence of its implicit contract with its consumers—a very explicit form of an implicit contract. The contract promised a 5¢ price and adherence to the “Secret Formula.” Because implicit contracts are unobservable, we adopt a narrative approach. Analyzing a large number of historical documents, we offer evidence of the Company both acknowledging and acting on this implicit contract. We explore quality as a margin of adjustment available to Coca-Cola. The implicit contract included a promise not only of a constant price but also a constant quality (the “real thing”). During a period of over 70 years, we find evidence of only a single case of true quality change. We demonstrate that the perceived costs of breaking the implicit contract were large.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.rcfea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp49_13.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 49_13.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in the Journal of of Law, Economics, and Organization
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:49_13

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Via Patara, 3, 47921 Rimini (RN)
Phone: +390541434142
Fax: +39054155431
Email:
Web page: http://www.rcfea.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Implicit Contract; Explicit Contract; Invisible Handshake; Customer Market; Long-Term Relationship; Price Rigidity; Sticky Prices; Price Adjustment; Quality Rigidity; Quality Adjustment; Nickel Coke; Coca-Cola; Secret Formula; Real Thing;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Matthew Higgins & Daniel Levy & Andrew T. Young, 2003. "Growth and Convergence across the US: Evidence from County-Level Data," Working Papers 2003-03, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  2. Andrew Young & Matthew Higgins & Daniel Levy, 2005. "Sigma-Convergence Versus Beta-Convergence: Evidence from U.S. County-Level Data," Macroeconomics 0505008, EconWPA.
  3. Levy, Daniel & Dutta, Shantanu & Bergen, Mark, 2002. "Heterogeneity in Price Rigidity: Evidence from a Case Study Using Microlevel Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 197-220, February.
  4. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1994. "Monetary policy matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 75-88, August.
  5. Alexander L. Wolman, 2007. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 531-552.
  6. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2011. "Fair Pricing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 952-981, October.
  7. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5h07k8vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Jonathan L. Willis, 2000. "Estimation of adjustment costs in a model of state-dependent pricing," Research Working Paper RWP 00-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  9. Jean-Robert Tyran & Elke Renner, 2003. "Price Rigidity in Customer Markets," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 2003-16, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  10. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  11. Levy, Daniel & Chen, Haipeng (Allan) & Ray, Sourav & Bergen, Mark, 2006. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment in the Small," MPRA Paper 1097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Daniel Levy & Andrew Young, 2004. ""The Real Thing:" Nominal Price Rigidity of the Nickel Coke, 1886-1959," Macroeconomics 0402013, EconWPA.
  13. Chen Zhen & Michael K. Wohlgenant & Shawn Karns & Phillip Kaufman, 2010. "Habit Formation and Demand for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(1), pages 175-193.
  14. Carlton, Dennis W, 1986. "The Rigidity of Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 637-58, September.
  15. Pinelopi Goldberg & Rebecca Hellerstein, 2007. "Sticky prices: why firms hesitate to adjust the price of their goods," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 13(Nov).
  16. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2008. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-through," NBER Working Papers 14200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1993. "Inflation and the Informativeness of Prices," NBER Working Papers 4267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2002. "Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data," Working Papers 2002-10, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  19. Leif Danziger, 2001. "Output and Welfare Effects of Inflation with Costly Price and Quantity Adjustments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1608-1620, December.
  20. Luis M.B. Cabral, 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 658-673, Winter.
  21. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2009. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," NBER Working Papers 15255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Sourav Ray & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2005. "Asymmetric Wholesale Pricing: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2005-02, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  23. Bar-El, Ronen & García Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana & Tobol, Yossi, 2010. "The Evolution of Secularization: Cultural Transmission, Religion and Fertility Theory, Simulations and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 4980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Durlauf, Steven N., 2001. "Manifesto for a growth econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 65-69, January.
  25. Anil K Kashyap, 1994. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," NBER Working Papers 4855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy, 2011. "Shrinking Goods and Sticky Prices: Theory and Evidence," Working Paper Series 17_11, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  27. Eric T. Anderson & Duncan I. Simester, 2010. "Price Stickiness and Customer Antagonism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 729-765, May.
  28. Slade, Margaret E, 1998. "Optimal Pricing with Costly Adjustment: Evidence from Retail-Grocery Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 87-107, January.
  29. Cason Timothy N. & Friedman Daniel, 2002. "A Laboratory Study of Customer Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-45, February.
  30. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2005. "Customer anger at price increases, changes in the frequency of price adjustment and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 829-852, May.
  31. Jean-Robert Tyran & Dirk Engelmann, 2005. "To Buy or Not to Buy? An Experimental Study of Consumer Boycotts in Retail Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 1-16, 02.
  32. John Leahy, 2011. "A Survey of New Keynesian Theories of Aggregate Supply and Their Relation to Industrial Organization," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 87-110, 08.
  33. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  34. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K Kashyap, 2011. "Best Prices," NBER Working Papers 16680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2010. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1192-1230.
  36. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  37. Mark Bils, 1989. "Cyclical Pricing of Durable Goods," NBER Working Papers 3050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. George J. Stigler & James K. Kindahl, 1970. "The Behavior of Industiral Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number stig70-1.
  39. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Macroeconomics 0402020, EconWPA.
  40. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  41. Alan Kackmeister, 2005. "Yesterday's bad times are today's good old times: retail price changes in the 1890s were smaller, less frequent, and more permanent," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  42. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Alvarez & Herve Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lunnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Price Changes in the Euro Area and the United States: Some Facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 171-192, Spring.
  43. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  44. Levy, Daniel, et al, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
  45. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. David Genesove, 2003. "The Nominal Rigidity of Apartment Rents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 844-853, November.
  47. Ricard Gil & Justin Marion, 2013. "Self-Enforcing Agreements and Relational Contracting: Evidence from California Highway Procurement," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 239-277, April.
  48. Lester G. Telser, 1964. "Advertising and Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 537.
  49. Andersen, Torben M & Toulemonde, Eric, 2004. "Adapting Prices or Quantities in the Presence of Adjustment Costs?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 177-96, April.
  50. Simon Hall & Mark Walsh & Anthony Yates, 1997. "How do UK companies set prices?," Bank of England working papers 67, Bank of England.
  51. Anil Kaul & Dick R. Wittink, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations About the Impact of Advertising on Price Sensitivity and Price," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages G151-G160.
  52. Bils, Mark, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718, November.
  53. Leonid V. Azarnert, 2008. "Involuntary Integration in Public Education, Fertility and Human Capital," Working Papers 2008-07, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  54. Eckard, E. Woodrow, 2007. "Retail price concentration, transaction costs, and price flexibility circa 1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 131-153, January.
  55. Klenow, Peter J. & Malin, Benjamin A., 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 6, pages 231-284 Elsevier.
  56. Daly, Herman E, 1970. "Some Observations on the Causes and Consequences of the Shortage of Change in Northeast Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 181-84, Jan.-Feb..
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Andrew T. Young & Alexander K. Blue, 2007. "Retail prices during a change in monetary regimes: evidence from Sears, Roebuck catalogs, 1938-1951," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 763-775.
  2. Georg Mueller & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2006. "Holiday Nonprice Rigidity and Cost of Adjustment," Emory Economics 0612, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  3. Georg Müller & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2007. "Non-price rigidity and cost of adjustment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 817-832.
  4. Daniel Levy, 2006. "Price Rigidity and Flexibility: New Empirical Evidence," Emory Economics 0611, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  5. Söderberg, Johan, 2011. "Customer markets and the welfare effects of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 206-219.
  6. Alexander L. Wolman, 2007. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 531-552.
  7. Daniel Levy, 2006. "Price Rigidity and Flexibility: Recent Theoretical Developments," Emory Economics 0608, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:49_13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roberto Patuelli).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.