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Why Do Manufacturers Issue Coupons? An Empirical Analysis of Breakfast Cereals

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  • Aviv Nevo
  • Catherine Wolfram

Abstract

We explore the relationship between shelf prices and manufacturers' coupons for 25 ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. We find that shelf prices are lower during periods when coupons are available. This result is inconsistent with static monopoly price discrimination under a broad range of assumptions. We present evidence that is inconsistent with both dynamic theories of price discrimination and explanations of couponing based on the vertical relationship between manufacturers and retailers. We find support for models of price discrimination in oligopoly settings as well as suggestions that firmwide incentives may induce managers to use coupons and price cuts simultaneously. Finally, lagged coupons have a positive effect on current sales, suggesting that coupons are used to induce repurchase.

Suggested Citation

  • Aviv Nevo & Catherine Wolfram, 2002. "Why Do Manufacturers Issue Coupons? An Empirical Analysis of Breakfast Cereals," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(2), pages 319-339, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:33:y:2002:i:summer:p:319-339
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Schiefer & Stefan Hirsch & Monika Hartmann & Adelina Gschwandtner, 2013. "Industry, firm, year and country effects on profitability in EU food processing," Studies in Economics 1309, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. repec:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:91-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Englmaier, Florian & Gratz, Linda & Reisinger, Markus, 2012. "Price Discrimination and Fairness Concerns," Discussion Papers in Economics 12735, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Fabra, Natalia & Montero, Juan Pablo, 2017. "Product Choice and Price Discrimination in Markets with Search Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 12046, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Pascal Courty & Mario Pagliero, 2012. "The Impact of Price Discrimination on Revenue: Evidence from the Concert Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 359-369, February.
    6. Marcus Asplund & Rickard Eriksson & Niklas Strand, 2008. "PRICE DISCRIMINATION IN OLIGOPOLY: EVIDENCE FROM REGIONAL NEWSPAPERS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 333-346, June.
    7. repec:eee:joreco:v:20:y:2013:i:2:p:240-247 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hal R. Varian, 2010. "Computer Mediated Transactions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1-10.
    9. Zhang, Jianqiang, 2016. "The benefits of consumer rebates: A strategy for gray market deterrence," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(2), pages 509-521.
    10. Ganesh Iyer & P.B. Seetharaman, 2003. "To Price Discriminate or Not: Product Choice and the Selection Bias Problem," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 155-178, June.
    11. Leemore Dafny & Christopher Ody & Matt Schmitt, 2017. "When Discounts Raise Costs: The Effect of Copay Coupons on Generic Utilization," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 91-123, May.
    12. Andrea Pozzi, 2012. "Shopping Cost and Brand Exploration in Online Grocery," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 96-120, August.
    13. Belleflamme,Paul & Peitz,Martin, 2015. "Industrial Organization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107687899, December.
    14. STROUKAL Dominik, 2013. "Price Discrimination On The Marijuana Market: Schwag Or Endo?," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 8(2), pages 128-136, August.
    15. Udo Schmidt-Mohr & J. Villas-Boas, 2008. "Competitive product lines with quality constraints," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-16, March.
    16. Stole, Lars A., 2007. "Price Discrimination and Competition," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    17. (Catherine) Zhang, Jie & Savage, Scott J. & Chen, Yongmin, 2015. "Consumer uncertainty and price discrimination through online coupons: An empirical study of restaurants in Shanghai," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 43-55.
    18. Eric T. Anderson & James D. Dana, Jr., 2009. "When Is Price Discrimination Profitable?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(6), pages 980-989, June.
    19. Kutsal Dogan & Ernan Haruvy & Ram Rao, 2010. "Who should practice price discrimination using rebates in an asymmetric duopoly?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 61-90, March.
    20. Gil, Ricard & Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Ruzzier, Christian, 2016. "As Seen on TV: Price Discrimination and Competition in Television Advertising," MPRA Paper 75993, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Meghan Busse & Jorge Silva-Risso & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2006. "$1,000 Cash Back: The Pass-Through of Auto Manufacturer Promotions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1253-1270, September.
    22. repec:eee:resene:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:132-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Rennhoff, Adam D. & Serfes, Konstantinos, 2009. "Retailer price distributions and promotional activities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 91-95, May.
    24. repec:ssi:jouesi:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:104-113 is not listed on IDEAS

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