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Revealed Preference Analysis of Characteristics Models

  • Laura Blow
  • Martin Browning
  • Ian Crawford

Characteristics models have been found to be useful in many areas of economics. However, their empirical implementation tends to rely heavily on functional form assumptions. In this paper we develop a revealed preference approach to characteristics models. We derive the necessary and sufficient empirical conditions under which data on the market behaviour of heterogeneous, price-taking consumers are non-parametrically consistent with the consumer characteristics model. Where these conditions hold, we show how information may be recovered on individual consumers' marginal valuations of product attributes. In some cases, marginal valuations are point identified, and in other cases, we can only recover bounds. Where the conditions fail, we highlight the role which the introduction of unobserved product attributes can play in rationalizing the data. We implement these ideas using consumer panel data on the Danish milk market. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00485.x
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 371-389

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:2:p:371-389
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  1. Varian, Hal R, 1983. "Non-Parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110, January.
  2. Diewert, W. E. & Parkan, C., 1985. "Tests for the consistency of consumer data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 127-147.
  3. Blundell & Robin, 2000. "Latent separability : grouping goods without weak separability," Working Papers 156158, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
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  5. Pudney, Steven E, 1981. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of a Characteristics Model of Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 417-33, July.
  6. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 1998. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," Discussion Papers 99-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  10. Heckman, James & Scheinkman, Jose, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 243-55, April.
  11. C. Lanier Benkard & Patrick Bajari, 2004. "Demand Estimation with Heterogeneous Consumers and Unobserved Product Characteristics: A Hedonic Approach," NBER Working Papers 10278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ian Crawford, 2006. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Latent Separability," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0706, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  13. Diewert, W E, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 419-25, July.
  14. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  15. Browning, M J, 1983. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Conditional Cost Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 851-56, May.
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  18. Bajari, Patrick & Benkard, C. Lanier, 2004. "Demand Estimation With Heterogeneous Consumers and Unobserved Product Characteristics: A Hedonic Approach," Research Papers 1842, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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