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Optimal Pricing with Costly Adjustment: Evidence from Retail-Grocery Prices

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  • Margaret E. Slade
  • G.R.E.Q.A.M.

Abstract

In many theoretical models, it is assumed that there are costs associated with adjusting prices. In this paper, the existence, type, and magnitude of such costs are investigated empirically. A discrete-choice dynamic-programming model that nests fixed and variable costs is developed, and econometric estimates of the adjustment-cost function are obtained. The data used to implement the model consist of weekly retail prices and sales of three brands of saltine crackers sold by four chains of grocery stores in a small U.S. town. The study has several distinguishing characteristics. First, the data are highly disaggregate (at the level of brand and store). Second, variables are sampled at weekly intervals. Third, the model nests fixed- and variable-adjustment costs and can therefore determine their relative importance. Finally, the discrete-choice model is both structural and dynamic.

Suggested Citation

  • Margaret E. Slade & G.R.E.Q.A.M., 1998. "Optimal Pricing with Costly Adjustment: Evidence from Retail-Grocery Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 87-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:65:y:1998:i:1:p:87-107.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1467-937X.00036
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    2. Horowitz, J.L. & Manski, C.F., 1992. "Identification and Robustness in the Presence of Errors in Data," Working Papers 92-05, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    3. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-1149, September.
    4. Manski, C.F. & Sandefur, G.D. & Mclanahan, S. & Powers, D., 1990. "Alternative Estimates Of The Effect Of Family Stucture During Adolescence On Hight School Graduation," Working papers 90-31, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    5. Robinson, Chris, 1989. "The Joint Determination of Union Status and Union Wage Effects: Some Tests of Alternative Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 639-667, June.
    6. Bjorklund, Anders & Moffitt, Robert, 1987. "The Estimation of Wage Gains and Welfare Gains in Self-selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 42-49, February.
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