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Effects of Product Availability: Experimental Evidence

  • Christopher T. Conlon


    (Department of Economics, Columbia University)

  • Julie Holland Mortimer


    (Boston College)

Product availability impacts many industries such as transportation, events, and retail, yet little empirical evidence documents the importance of stocking decisions for firm profits, vertical relationships, or consumers. We conduct several experiments, exogenously removing top-selling products from a set of vending machines and analyzing substitution patterns and profit impacts of the changed product availability using non- parametric analyses and structural demand estimation. We find substantial switching to alternate products, and evidence of misaligned incentives between upstream and downstream firms in the choice of which products to carry. We discuss the trade-offs of both empirical approaches for analyzing product availability effects generally.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 798.

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Date of creation: 09 Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:798
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  1. Dean Karlan & John List, 2006. "Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00279, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2010. "Demand Estimation Under Incomplete Product Availability," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 799, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 07 Aug 2012.
  3. repec:bla:restud:v:66:y:1999:i:2:p:275-308 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress Report," Discussion Papers 09-010, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Patrick Bajari & Jeremy T. Fox & Kyoo il Kim & Stephen P. Ryan, 2009. "A Simple Nonparametric Estimator for the Distribution of Random Coefficients," NBER Working Papers 15210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:feb:artefa:0090 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Bertrand, Marianne & Karlan, Dean & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Shafir, Eldar & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," Working Papers 58, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  9. Ostrovsky, Michael & Schwarz, Michael, 2009. "Reserve Prices in Internet Advertising Auctions: A Field Experiment," Research Papers 2054, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  10. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & John A. List & David H. Reiley, 2005. "Demand Reduction in Multi-Unit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 472-476, March.
  11. Michael P. Keane, 2010. "A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 47-58, Spring.
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