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An Analysis of Pricing Strategy and Price Dispersion on the Internet

  • Randy A. Nelson

    ()

    (Colby College)

  • Richard Cohen

    (Buckingham Properties)

  • Frederik Roy Rasmussen

    (Harvard Business School)

Using prices obtained from shopbots, we test several hypotheses regarding the economics of information and optimal search. We find that price dispersion is positively (negatively) related to product price and the number of sellers in cross-sectional (time series) analysis. Price dispersion increases over time when the sample includes new entrants, but decreases in the absence of entry. Controlling for shipping charges and seller heterogeneity reduces, but does not eliminate, price dispersion. Finally, prices appear to be correlated across products and over time – low price sellers for one product (time period) generally charge low prices for all items (time periods).

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File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume33/V33N1P95_110.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 33 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 95-110

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:33:y:2007:i:1:p:95-110
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  1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
  2. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
  3. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 521-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Clay, Karen, et al, 2002. "Retail Strategies on the Web: Price and Non-price Competition in the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 351-67, September.
  5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  6. John W. Pratt & David A. Wise & Richard Zeckhauser, 1979. "Price Differences in almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211.
  7. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
  8. Carlson, John A & McAfee, R Preston, 1983. "Discrete Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 480-93, June.
  9. Dennis W. Carlton & Judith A. Chevalier, 2001. "Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 441-461 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dana, J.D., 1991. "Learning in an Equilibrium Search Model," Papers 37, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  11. Friberg, Richard & Ganslandt, Mattias & Sandström, Mikael, 2000. "E-commerce and prices - theory and evidence," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 389, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Sep 2000.
  12. Brown, Jeffrey, 2000. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Working Paper Series rwp00-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  13. Dahlby, Bev & West, Douglas S, 1986. "Price Dispersion in an Automobile Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 418-38, April.
  14. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
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