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Price Dispersion In The Small And In The Large: Evidence From An Internet Price Comparison Site

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  • Michael R. Baye
  • John Morgan
  • Patrick Scholten

Abstract

This paper examines four million daily price observations for more than 1,000 consumer electronics products on the price comparison site http://Shopper.com . We find little support for the notion that prices on the Internet are converging to the 'law of one price.' In addition, observed levels of price dispersion vary systematically with the number of firms listing prices. The difference between the two lowest prices (the 'gap') averages 23 per cent when two firms list prices, and falls to 3.5 per cent in markets where 17 firms list prices. These empirical results are an implication of a general 'clearinghouse' model of equilibrium price dispersion. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2004. "Price Dispersion In The Small And In The Large: Evidence From An Internet Price Comparison Site," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 463-496, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:52:y:2004:i:4:p:463-496
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael D. Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 2001. "Consumer Decision-making at an Internet Shopbot: Brand Still Matters," NBER Chapters,in: E-commerce, pages 541-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising

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