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Portfolio Considerations in Differentiated Product Purchases: An Application to the Japanese Automobile Market

  • Naoki Wakamori

Consumers often purchase more than one differentiated product, assembling a portfolio, which might potentially affect substitution patterns of demand and, as a consequence, oligopolistic firms’ pricing strategies. This paper studies such consumers’ portfolio considerations by developing a structural model that allows for flexible complementarities/substitutabilities depending on consumer attributes and product characteristics. I estimate the model using Japanese household-level data on automobile purchasing decisions. My estimates suggest that complementarities arise when households purchase a combination of one small automobile and one minivan as their portfolio. Ignoring such effects leads to a overstated counterfactual analysis. Simulation results suggest that a policy proposal of repealing the current tax subsidies for small ecofriendly automobiles would decrease the demand for those automobiles by 9%; less than the 14% drop predicted by a standard single discrete choice model.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 11-27.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:11-27
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  1. Bento, Antonio M. & Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & von Haefen, Roger H., 2007. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased U.S. Gasoline Taxes," Working Papers 127021, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Anna Alberini & Winston Harrington & Virginia McConnell, 1995. "Determinants of Participation in Accelerated Vehicle-Retirement Programs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 93-112, Spring.
  3. Jerome Adda & Russell Cooper, 1997. "Balladurette and Juppette: A Discrete Analysis of Scrapping Subsidies," Papers 0076, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  4. Robert W. Hahn, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Scrappage," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 222-242, Summer.
  5. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2008. "Automobile replacement: a dynamic structural approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 21780, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
  7. Angelique Augereau & Shane Greenstein & Marc Rysman, 2006. "Coordination versus differentiation in a standards war: 56K modems," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 887-909, December.
  8. West, Sarah E., 2004. "Distributional effects of alternative vehicle pollution control policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 735-757, March.
  9. Michelle Sovinsky Goeree, 2005. "Advertising in the US Personal Computer Industry," Industrial Organization 0503002, EconWPA.
  10. Chen, Jiawei & Esteban, Susanna & Shum, Matthew, 2010. "Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 397-402, July.
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