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Are Consumers Myopic? Evidence from New and Used Car Purchases

Author

Listed:
  • Meghan R. Busse
  • Christopher R. Knittel
  • Florian Zettelmeyer

Abstract

We investigate whether car buyers are myopic about future fuel costs. We estimate the effect of gasoline prices on short-run equilibrium prices of cars of different fuel economies. We then compare the implied changes in willingness-to-pay to the associated changes in expected future gasoline costs for cars of different fuel economies in order to calculate implicit discount rates. Using different assumptions about annual mileage, survival rates, and demand elasticities, we calculate a range of implicit discount rates similar to the range of interest rates paid by car buyers who borrow. We interpret this as showing little evidence of consumer myopia. (JEL D12, H25, L11, L62, L71, L81)

Suggested Citation

  • Meghan R. Busse & Christopher R. Knittel & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2013. "Are Consumers Myopic? Evidence from New and Used Car Purchases," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 220-256, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:1:p:220-56
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.1.220
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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