IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

When Little Things Mean a Lot: On the Inefficiency of Item-Pricing Laws

  • Mark Bergen
  • Daniel Levy
  • Sourav Ray
  • Paul H. Rubin
  • Benjamin Zeliger

Item-pricing laws (IPLs) require a price tag on every item sold by a retailer. We study IPLs and assess their efficiency by quantifying their costs and comparing them to previously documented benefits. On the cost side, we posit that IPLs should lead to higher prices because they increase the costs of pricing and price adjustment. We test this prediction using data collected from large supermarket chains in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We find that IPL store prices are higher by about 20�-25� per item on average. As a control, we use data from stores that use electronic shelf labels and find that their prices fall between IPL and no-IPL store prices. We compare the costs of IPLs to existing measures of the benefits and find that the costs are an order of magnitude higher than the upper bound of the estimated benefits. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/589660
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 51 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 209-250

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:51:y:2008:i:2:p:209-250
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
  2. Reis, Ricardo, 2006. "Inattentive consumers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1761-1800, November.
  3. Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Robert Venable, 2005. "Price Adjustment at Multiproduct Retailers," Industrial Organization 0505005, EconWPA.
  4. Daniel Levy & Georg Müller & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta, 2009. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2009-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  5. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy & Mark Ritson, 2005. "Beyond the Cost of Price Adjustment: Investments in Pricing Capital," Macroeconomics 0505013, EconWPA.
  6. Beales, Howard & Craswell, Richard & Salop, Steven C, 1981. "The Efficient Regulation of Consumer Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 491-539, December.
  7. Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Heterogeneity in Price Rigidity: Evidence from a Case Study Using Micro-Level Data," Macroeconomics 0402021, EconWPA.
  8. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  9. Sourav Ray & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2005. "Asymmetric Wholesale Pricing: Theory and Evidence," Emory Economics 0513, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  10. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Robert Venable, 2005. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Macroeconomics 0505007, EconWPA.
  11. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
  12. Robert Barsky & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2002. "What Can the Price Gap between Branded and Private Label Products Tell Us about Markups?," Working Papers 2002-02, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  13. Peter E. Rossi & Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap, 2002. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm291, Yale School of Management.
  14. Daniel Levy & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Sourav Ray & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment in the Small: An Implication of Rational Inattention," Working Papers 2004-08, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  15. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
  17. Benham, Lee, 1972. "The Effect of Advertising on the Price of Eyeglasses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 337-52, October.
  18. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Macroeconomics 0402020, EconWPA.
  19. Jeffrey Milyo & Joel Waldfogel, 1998. "The Effect of Price Advertising and Prices: Evidence in the Wake of 44 Liquormart," NBER Working Papers 6488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. H.E. Frech, 1993. "Product-Risk Labeling," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53129, 2.
  21. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  22. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2004. "Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data," Macroeconomics 0402018, EconWPA.
  23. Ball, Laurence & Gregory Mankiw, N. & Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Monetary policy for inattentive economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 703-725, May.
  24. Eitan Gerstner & James D. Hess, 1990. "Can Bait and Switch Benefit Consumers?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(2), pages 114-124.
  25. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U. S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-824.
  26. Elizabeth J. Warner & Robert B. Barsky, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-352.
  27. Julio Rotemberg, 1987. "The New Keynesian Microfoundations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 69-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  29. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
  30. Jarrell, Gregg & Peltzman, Sam, 1985. "The Impact of Product Recalls on the Wealth of Sellers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 512-36, June.
  31. Peltzman, Sam, 1981. "The Effects of FTC Advertising Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 403-48, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:51:y:2008:i:2:p:209-250. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.