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Survey Evidence on Customer Markets

  • Ali Choudhary
  • Thorlakur Karlsson
  • Gylfi Zoega

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

This paper uses survey data from Iceland on 884 firms to test for the theory of customer markets proposed by Phelps and Winter (1970) and Okun (1981). The results provide support for the customer market theory in that managers agree that customers are valuable to firms – they rank them second only to employees – and they use various means of augmenting and retaining their customer base, such as advertising. Surprisingly, however, price setting appears not to be an important ploy for attracting and retaining customers. In this we confirm the earlier results of Lye and Sibly (1994) using Australian data. Instead, advertising and direct contact with customers are listed as significantly more important.

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Paper provided by Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics in its series Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 0916.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0916
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  1. Loupias, Claire & Ricart, Roland, 2004. "Price setting in France: new evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0423, European Central Bank.
  2. Blinder, Alan S, 1991. "Why Are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 89-96, May.
  3. M. Ali Choudhary & J. Michael Orszag, 2007. "Costly customer relations and pricing," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 641-661, October.
  4. Susanto Basu, 1994. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 4817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Josef Baumgartner & Claudia Kwapil & Johann Scharler, 2005. "The Price-Setting Behavior of Austrian Firms: Some Survey Evidence," Working Papers 100, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  7. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-13, May.
  8. Judith A. Chevalier & David S. Scharfstein, 1994. "Capital Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Martins, Fernando, 2005. "The price setting behaviour of Portuguese firms: evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0562, European Central Bank.
  11. Morten O. Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2004. "Deep Habits," 2004 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Hall, Simon & Walsh, Mark & Yates, Anthony, 2000. "Are UK Companies' Prices Sticky?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 425-46, July.
  13. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:1:p:1-32 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Emi Nakamura & Jon Steinsson, 2005. "Price Setting in a Forward-Looking Customer Market," Macroeconomics 0509010, EconWPA.
  16. Ireland, Peter N., 1998. "Customer Flows, Countercyclical Markups, and the Output Effects of Technology Shocks," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 649-664, October.
  17. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  18. David Amirault & Carolyn Kwan & Gordon Wilkinson, 2006. "Survey of Price-Setting Behaviour of Canadian Companies," Working Papers 06-35, Bank of Canada.
  19. Simon Hall & Mark Walsh & Anthony Yates, 1997. "How do UK companies set prices?," Bank of England working papers 67, Bank of England.
  20. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
  21. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
  22. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1991. "Markups and the Business Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 63-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  24. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-66, May.
  25. Bhaskar, V & Machin, Stephen & Reid, Gavin C, 1993. "Price and Quantity Adjustment over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Survey Data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 257-68, April.
  26. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:2:p:321-52 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. repec:att:wimass:9116 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. McDonald, Ian M, 1990. "The Setting of Retail Prices in a Customer Market," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 66(195), pages 322-28, December.
  29. George A. Akerlof, 2007. "The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 5-36, March.
  30. Lye, J N & Sibly, H, 1994. "Testing for Pricing Asymmetries in Customer Markets," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(63), pages 239-52, December.
  31. Kyle Bagwell, 2004. "Countercyclical Pricing in Customer Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(284), pages 519-542, November.
  32. Sibly, Hugh, 1995. "Price Dynamics in Repeat-Purchase Markets," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 71(213), pages 179-90, June.
  33. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
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