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Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data

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Author Info

  • Peter E. Rossi

    ()
    (Graduate School of Business)

  • Judith A. Chevalier

    ()
    (School of Management)

  • Anil K. Kashyap

    ()
    (Graduate School of Business)

Abstract

We examine retail and wholesale prices for a large supermarket chain over seven and one-half years. We find that prices fall on average during seasonal demand peaks for a product, largely due to changes in retail margins. Retail margins for specific goods fall during peak demand periods for that good, even if these periods do not coincide with aggregate demand peaks for the retailer. This is consistent with "loss leader" models of retailer competition. Models stressing cyclical demand elasticities or cyclical firm conduct are less consistent with our findings. Manufacturer behavior plays a limited role in the counter-cyclicality of prices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Yale School of Management in its series Yale School of Management Working Papers with number ysm291.

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Date of creation: 10 Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm291

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Web page: http://icf.som.yale.edu/
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Keywords: Pricing; Seasonality; Retail; Competition;

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  1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  2. Borenstein, S. & Shepard, A., 1993. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gazoline Markets," Papers 93-22, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  3. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  4. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
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  8. Bagwell, Kyle, 1987. "Introductory Price as a Signal of Cost in a Model of Repeat Business," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 365-84, July.
  9. Nelson, Philip & Siegfried, John J & Howell, John, 1992. "A Simultaneous Equations Model of Coffee Brand Pricing and Advertising," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 54-63, February.
  10. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  11. Kenn Ariga & Kenji Matsui & Makoto Watanabe, 2001. "Hot and Spicy: Ups and Downs on the Price Floor and Ceiling at Japanese Supermarkets," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 316, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  12. Vrinda Kadiyali & Pradeep Chintagunta & Naufel Vilcassim, 2000. "Manufacturer-Retailer Channel Interactions and Implications for Channel Power: An Empirical Investigation of Pricing in a Local Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 127-148, September.
  13. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  14. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Theories of Cartel Stability and the Joint Executive Committee," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 37-57, Spring.
  15. Bils, Mark, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718, November.
  16. MacDonald, James M, 2000. "Demand, Information, and Competition: Why Do Food Prices Fall at Seasonal Demand Peaks?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 27-45, March.
  17. Martin Pesendorfer, 2002. "Retail Sales: A Study of Pricing Behavior in Supermarkets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 33-66, January.
  18. Rajiv Lal & J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1998. "Price Promotions and Trade Deals with Multiproduct Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 935-949, July.
  19. Duncan Simester, 1995. "Signalling Price Image Using Advertised Prices," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 166-188.
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