IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is intertemporal price discrimination the cause of price dispersion in markets with low search costs?


  • Charlie Lindgren
  • Sven-Olov Daunfeldt
  • Niklas Rudholm
  • Siril Yella


Theories of intertemporal price discrimination imply that prices must be chosen using mixed strategies, with retailers changing their prices randomly over time. Otherwise, consumers will learn which retailer has the lowest price, and eventually, all customers will patronize the lowest price retailer, or all retailers will charge the same price. We test whether price dispersion is explained by intertemporal price discrimination strategies using a dataset of identical products sold through the PriceSpy price comparison website. Our results show that there are clusters of retailers with similar pricing within each cluster, but with different price levels between clusters even after controlling for retailer heterogeneity. Retailers also remain in the same price cluster over time, suggesting that consumers have ample opportunities to learn which retailers belong to which price cluster. Intertemporal price discrimination is thus unlikely to have caused the observed price dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Charlie Lindgren & Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Niklas Rudholm & Siril Yella, 2021. "Is intertemporal price discrimination the cause of price dispersion in markets with low search costs?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(11), pages 968-971, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:28:y:2021:i:11:p:968-971
    DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2020.1789055

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giorgino, Toni, 2009. "Computing and Visualizing Dynamic Time Warping Alignments in R: The dtw Package," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 31(i07).
    2. Robert Thorndike, 1953. "Who belongs in the family?," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 18(4), pages 267-276, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lindgren, Charlie & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Rudholm, Niklas, 2021. "Pricing In Retail Markets With Low Search Costs: Evidence From A Price Comparison Website," HFI Working Papers 18, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    2. Lindgren, Charlie, 2021. "Discontinuities: What is the value of having the lowest price or highest consumer rating on a price comparison website?," HFI Working Papers 19, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    3. Lindgren, Charlie & Li, Yujiao & Rudholm, Niklas, 2020. "Why do firms compete on price comparison websites? The impact on productivity, profits, and wages," HFI Working Papers 14, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Koecklin, Manuel Tong & Longoria, Genaro & Fitiwi, Desta Z. & DeCarolis, Joseph F. & Curtis, John, 2021. "Public acceptance of renewable electricity generation and transmission network developments: Insights from Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    2. Amato, Umberto & Antoniadis, Anestis & De Feis, Italia & Goude, Yannig & Lagache, Audrey, 2021. "Forecasting high resolution electricity demand data with additive models including smooth and jagged components," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 171-185.
    3. Mastroeni, Loretta & Mazzoccoli, Alessandro & Quaresima, Greta & Vellucci, Pierluigi, 2021. "Decoupling and recoupling in the crude oil price benchmarks: An investigation of similarity patterns," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    4. Becken, Susanne & Stantic, Bela & Chen, Jinyan & Connolly, Rod M., 2022. "Twitter conversations reveal issue salience of aviation in the broader context of climate change," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    5. Rockstuhl, Sebastian & Wenninger, Simon & Wiethe, Christian & Ahlrichs, Jakob, 2022. "The influence of risk perception on energy efficiency investments: Evidence from a German survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    6. Tong Koecklin, Manuel & Fitiwi, Desta & de Carolis, Joseph F. & Curtis, John, 2020. "Renewable electricity generation and transmission network developments in light of public opposition: Insights from Ireland," Papers WP653, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    7. Archana R. Panhalkar & Dharmpal D. Doye, 2020. "An approach of improving decision tree classifier using condensed informative data," DECISION: Official Journal of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Springer;Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, vol. 47(4), pages 431-445, December.
    8. Christoph J. Borner & Ingo Hoffmann & Jonas Krettek & Lars M. Kurzinger & Tim Schmitz, 2021. "Bitcoin: Like a Satellite or Always Hardcore? A Core-Satellite Identification in the Cryptocurrency Market," Papers 2105.12336,
    9. Michele Cincera, 2005. "Firms' productivity growth and R&D spillovers: An analysis of alternative technological proximity measures," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(8), pages 657-682.
    10. Horstmann, Felix, 2017. "Measuring the shopper's attitude toward the point of sale display: Scale development and validation," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 112-123.
    11. Elizaveta Zinovyeva & Raphael C. G. Reule & Wolfgang Karl Hardle, 2021. "Understanding Smart Contracts: Hype or Hope?," Papers 2103.08447,
    12. Hanjo Odendaal & Monique Reid & Johann F. Kirsten, 2020. "Media‐Based Sentiment Indices as an Alternative Measure of Consumer Confidence," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 88(4), pages 409-434, December.
    13. Krzysztof Dmytrow & Beata Bieszk-Stolorz, 2021. "Comparison of changes in the labour markets of post-communist countries with other EU member states," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 16(4), pages 741-764, December.
    14. Yangchen Di & Mingyue Lu & Min Chen & Zhangjian Chen & Zaiyang Ma & Manzhu Yu, 2022. "A quantitative method for the similarity assessment of typhoon tracks," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 112(1), pages 587-602, May.
    15. Dario Cottafava & Giulia Sonetti & Paolo Gambino & Andrea Tartaglino, 2018. "Explorative Multidimensional Analysis for Energy Efficiency: DataViz versus Clustering Algorithms," Energies, MDPI, vol. 11(5), pages 1-18, May.
    16. Chester Harris, 1955. "Characteristics of two measures of profile similarity," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 20(4), pages 289-297, December.
    17. De Gregorio, Alessandro & Maria Iacus, Stefano, 2010. "Clustering of discretely observed diffusion processes," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 598-606, February.
    18. Szczepocki Piotr, 2019. "Clustering Companies Listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange According to Time-Varying Beta," Econometrics. Advances in Applied Data Analysis, Sciendo, vol. 23(2), pages 63-79, June.
    19. Sokhna Dieng & Pierre Michel & Abdoulaye Guindo & Kankoe Sallah & El-Hadj Ba & Badara Cissé & Maria Patrizia Carrieri & Cheikh Sokhna & Paul Milligan & Jean Gaudart, 2020. "Application of Functional Data Analysis to Identify Patterns of Malaria Incidence, to Guide Targeted Control Strategies," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(11), pages 1-23, June.
    20. Brian C Wesolowski & Alex Hofmann, 2016. "There’s More to Groove than Bass in Electronic Dance Music: Why Some People Won’t Dance to Techno," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(10), pages 1-23, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:28:y:2021:i:11:p:968-971. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Chris Longhurst (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.