IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/eaa116/94921.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Consumers and sellers heterogeneity, search costs and spatial price dispersion in retail food markets

Author

Listed:
  • Anania, Giovanni
  • Nistico, Rosanna

Abstract

— Price dispersion, i.e. a homogeneous product sold at different prices by different sellers, is among the most replicated findings in empirical economics. The paper assesses the extent and determinants of spatial price dispersion for 14 perfectly homogeneous food products in more than 400 retailers in a market characterized by the persistence of a large number of relatively small traditional food stores, side by side with large supermarkets. The extent of observed price dispersion is quite high, suggesting that, despite their large number, monopolistic competition prevails among sellers as a result of the heterogeneity of services offered. When prices in an urban area (where the spatial concentration of sellers is much higher and consumer search costs significantly lower) have been compared with those in smaller towns and rural areas, differences in search costs and the potentially higher degree of competition did not yield lower prices; quite the contrary, they were, on average, higher for 11 of the 14 products considered. Supermarkets proved to be often, but not always, less expensive than traditional retailers, although average savings associated to food shopping at supermarkets were extremely low. Finally, the results of the study suggest that sellers behave differently in their pricing decision strategies; these differences emerge both at the firm level and, for supermarkets, within the same chain. The fact that products considered were homogeneous, purchases frequently repeated, the number of sellers large, and search costs relatively low, did not suffice to keep price dispersion low. Based on the results presented in the paper, it is clear that more important in explaining price dispersion is the contemporaneous heterogeneity of retailers (in terms of services rendered) and consumers (in terms of their propensity to search and shopping preferences), which makes it possible for a monopolistic competition structure of the market to emerge and for small traditional food retail stores to remain in business.

Suggested Citation

  • Anania, Giovanni & Nistico, Rosanna, 2010. "Consumers and sellers heterogeneity, search costs and spatial price dispersion in retail food markets," 116th Seminar, October 27-30, 2010, Parma, Italy 94921, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa116:94921
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/94921
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Malakhov, Sergey, 2012. "К Вопросу О Возможности Синтеза Концепции Удовлетворяющего Поиска И Неоклассической Доктрины
      [A note on the synthesis of the satisficing concept and the neoclassical theory]
      ," MPRA Paper 49494, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price dispersion; retail pricing; food markets.; Agribusiness; Agricultural and Food Policy; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Labor and Human Capital;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ags:eaa116:94921. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/eaaeeea.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.