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Why Do Hot Dogs Come in Packs of 10 and Buns in 8s or 12s? A Demand-Side Investigation


  • Gerstner, Eitan
  • Hess, James D


This paper presents a theory that yields insight into the determination of package prices and sizes. Consumer heterogeneity in consumption rates, storage costs, and transactions costs (costs of making trips to the store) explains differences in package sizes and unit prices. In the model, fully-informed consumers and a monopolist seller pursue optimizing behavior. The seller chooses package sizes and prices to maximize profits, and the consumers select package sizes that maximize their utilities. The authors show that consumer heterogeneity may induce the seller to offer more than one size and that larger sizes would be sold either at unit-price discounts or unit-price premiums. Welfare implications and empirical tests of the theory are presented. Copyright 1987 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerstner, Eitan & Hess, James D, 1987. "Why Do Hot Dogs Come in Packs of 10 and Buns in 8s or 12s? A Demand-Side Investigation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 491-517, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jnlbus:v:60:y:1987:i:4:p:491-517

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-452, October.
    2. Roger H. Gordon, 1983. "Social Security And Labor Supply Incentives," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 1(3), pages 16-22, April.
    3. Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rates from Social Security and the Individual Income Tax," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 29, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cohen, Andrew, 2008. "Package size and price discrimination in the paper towel market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 502-516, March.
    2. Kenneth W. Clements, 2006. "Pricing and Packaging: The Case of Marijuana," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(4), pages 2019-2044, July.
    3. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1998. "Product Line Design for a Distribution Channel," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 156-169.
    4. Oded Koenigsberg & Rajeev Kohli & Ricardo Montoya, 2010. "Package Size Decisions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(3), pages 485-494, March.
    5. Agrawal, Jagdish & Grimm, Pamela E. & Srinivasan, Narasimhan, 1994. "Quantity Surcharges on Groceries," Research Reports 25179, University of Connecticut, Food Marketing Policy Center.
    6. Raghuram Iyengar & Kamel Jedidi, 2012. "A Conjoint Model of Quantity Discounts," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 334-350, March.
    7. Paul W. Dobson & Eitan Gerstner, 2010. "For a Few Cents More: Why Supersize Unhealthy Food?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 770-778, 07-08.
    8. Foubert, Bram & Gijsbrechts, Els, 2010. "Please or Squeeze? Brand performance implications of constrained and unconstrained multi-item promotions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 202(3), pages 880-892, May.
    9. Kokovin Sergey & Zhelobodko Evgeniy, 2008. "Diagnosing Efficiency of Distortion in Discrete Screening," EERC Working Paper Series 08/02e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    10. Michaela Draganska & Dipak C. Jain, 2006. "Consumer Preferences and Product-Line Pricing Strategies: An Empirical Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 164-174, 03-04.
    11. Kokovin, Sergey & Nahata, Babu & Zhelobodko, Evgeny, 2008. "Why quantity premia are rare?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 153-156, July.

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