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Sales and consumer inventory

  • Igal Hendel
  • Aviv Nevo

Temporary price reductions (sales) are common for many goods and naturally result in large increase in the quantity sold. We explore whether the data support the hypothesis that these increases are, at least partly, due to dynamic consumer behavior: at low prices consumers stockpile for future consumption. This effect, if present, renders standard static demand estimates misleading, which has broad economic implications. We construct a dynamic model of consumer choice, use it to derive testable predictions and test these predictions using two years of scanner data on the purchasing behavior of a panel of households. The results support the existence of household stockpiling behavior and suggest that static demand estimates, which neglect dynamics, may overestimate price sensitiveness by up to a factor of 2 to 6.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1756-2171.2006.tb00030.x
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Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 543-561

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:3:p:543-561
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  1. Conlisk, John & Gerstner, Eitan & Sobel, Joel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505, August.
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  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.
  4. Tülin Erdem & Susumu Imai & Michael Keane, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 5-64, March.
  5. Jeongwen Chiang, 1991. "A Simultaneous Approach to the Whether, What and How Much to Buy Questions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 297-315.
  6. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert C. Blattberg & Richard Briesch & Edward J. Fox, 1995. "How Promotions Work," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages G122-G132.
  8. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308, April.
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