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Intertemporal Price Discrimination in Storable Goods Markets

Listed author(s):
  • Igal Hendel
  • Aviv Nevo

We study intertemporal price discrimination when consumers can store for future consumption needs. We offer a simple model of demand dynamics, which we estimate using market-level data. Optimal pricing involves temporary price reductions that enable sellers to discriminate between price sensitive consumers, who stockpile for future consumption, and less price-sensitive consumers, who do not stockpile. We empirically quantify the impact of intertemporal price discrimination on profits and welfare. We find that sales (i ) capture 25-30 percent of the gap between non-discriminatory profits and (unattainable) third-degree price discrimination profits, (ii ) increase total welfare, and (iii) have a modest impact on consumer welfare.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 2722-2751

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:7:p:2722-51
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.7.2722
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  1. Tülin Erdem & Susumu Imai & Michael Keane, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 5-64, March.
  2. Iñaki Aguirre & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 2010. "Monopoly Price Discrimination and Demand Curvature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1601-1615, September.
  3. Boizot, Christine & Robin, Jean-Marc & Visser, Michael, 2001. "The Demand for Food Products: An Analysis of Interpurchase Times and Purchased Quantities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 391-419, April.
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  7. Holmes, Thomas J, 1989. "The Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 244-250, March.
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  9. Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-1130, December.
  10. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2009. "An empirical investigation of the welfare effects of banning wholesale price discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 20-46.
  11. Hong, Pilky & McAfee, R. Preston & Nayyar, Ashish, 2002. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Consumer Inventories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 503-517, August.
  12. Severin Borenstein, 1985. "Price Discrimination in Free-Entry Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(3), pages 380-397, Autumn.
  13. Shepard, Andrea, 1991. "Price Discrimination and Retail Configuration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 30-53, February.
  14. John Conlisk & Eitan Gerstner & Joel Sobel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505.
  15. Schmalensee, Richard, 1981. "Output and Welfare Implications of Monopolistic Third-Degree Price Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 242-247, March.
  16. Joel Sobel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 353-368.
  17. Jeuland, Abel P & Narasimhan, Chakravarthi, 1985. "Dealing-Temporary Price Cuts-by Seller as a Buyer Discrimination Mechanism," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 295-308, July.
  18. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2009. "An empirical investigation of the welfare effects of banning wholesale price discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 20-46.
  19. Frank Verboven, 1996. "International Price Discrimination in the European Car Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 240-268, Summer.
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