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Non-Linear Pricing and Price Indexes: Evidence and Implications from Scanner Data

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  • Kevin J. Fox
  • Daniel Melser

Abstract

type="main"> Non-linear pricing, the fact that prices do not necessarily change in proportion to size, is a ubiquitous phenomenon. However, it has been neither particularly well understood nor well measured. Non-linear pricing is of practical importance for statistical agencies who, in constructing price indexes, are often required to compare the relative price of a product-variety of two different sizes. It is usually assumed that prices change one-for-one with package and pack size (e.g. a 1-liter cola costs half as much as a 2-liter bottle). We question the wisdom of such an assumption and outline a model to flexibly estimate the price-size function. Applying our model to a large U.S. scanner dataset for carbonated beverages, at a disaggregated level, we find very significant discounts for larger-sized products. This highlights the need to pursue methods such as those advocated in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin J. Fox & Daniel Melser, 2014. "Non-Linear Pricing and Price Indexes: Evidence and Implications from Scanner Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 261-278, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:60:y:2014:i:2:p:261-278
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/roiw.12000
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    Cited by:

    1. Satoshi Imai & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2013. "Product Downsizing and Hidden Price Increases: Evidence from Japan's Deflationary Period," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 008, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics, revised Jun 2013.
    2. Fox, Kevin J. & Syed, Iqbal A., 2016. "Price discounts and the measurement of inflation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(2), pages 398-406.
    3. Satoshi Imai & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2014. "Product Downsizing and Hidden Price Increases: Evidence from Japan's Deflationary Period," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 9(1), pages 69-89, January.
    4. Daniel Melser & Iqbal A. Syed, 2016. "Life Cycle Price Trends and Product Replacement: Implications for the Measurement of Inflation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 509-533, September.
    5. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin, 2014. "Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(S2), pages 3-49, October.
    6. Satoshi Imai & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2013. "Product Downsizing and Hidden Price Increases: Evidence from Japan's Deflationary Period," CARF F-Series CARF-F-320, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    7. Kevin J, Fox. & Iqbal A. Syed, 2016. "Price Discounts and the Measurement of Inflation: Further Results," Discussion Papers 2016-05, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    8. Jan de Haan & Rens Hendriks & Michael Scholz, 2016. "A Comparison of Weighted Time-Product Dummy and Time Dummy Hedonic Indexes," Graz Economics Papers 2016-13, University of Graz, Department of Economics.

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