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Rockets and Feathers in the Laboratory

  • Ralph-C Bayer


    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Changxia Ke

    (Max Planck Institute)

Consumers often complain that retail prices respond faster to increases in wholesale prices than to decreases. Despite many empirical studies confirming this 'Rockets-and-Feathers' phenomenon for different industries, the mechanism driving it is not well understood. In this paper, we show that, in contrast to the theoretical prediction, asymmetric price adjustment to cost shocks, as well as price dispersion, arises in experimental Diamond (1971) markets. The analysis of individual behavior suggests that the observed price dispersion can be explained by bounded rationality, as our data are well explained by Quantal Response Equilibrium (McKelvey and Palfrey 1995). Asymmetric price adjustment is caused by the updating speed of buyers with adaptive expectations being different after positive and negative cost shocks.

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Paper provided by University of Adelaide, School of Economics in its series School of Economics Working Papers with number 2010-20.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2010-20
Contact details of provider: Postal: Adelaide SA 5005
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  10. Lewis, Matt, 2004. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Consumer Search: An Examination of the Retail Gasoline Market," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9pv2d9fn, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  19. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
  20. Ellingsen, Tore & Friberg, Richard & Hassler, John, 2006. "Menu Costs and Asymmetric Price Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5749, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  28. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  29. Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "The (Mis)Behaviour of the Aggregate Price Level," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 889-902, October.
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