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Firm Heterogeneity in Consumption Baskets: Evidence from Home and Store Scanner Data

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  • Faber, Benjamin
  • Fally, Thibault

Abstract

A growing literature has documented the role of firm heterogeneity within sectors for nominal income inequality. This paper explores the implications for household price indices across the income distribution. Using detailed matched US home and store scanner microdata, we present evidence that rich and poor households source their consumption from different parts of the firm size distribution within disaggregated product groups. We use the data to examine alternative explanations, propose a tractable quantitative model with two-sided heterogeneity that rationalizes the observed moments, and calibrate it to explore general-equilibrium counterfactuals. We find that larger, more productive firms endogenously sort into catering to the taste of richer households, and that this gives rise to asymmetric effects on household price indices. We quantify these effects in the context of policy counterfactuals that affect the distribution of disposable incomes on the demand side or profits across firms on the supply side.
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  • Faber, Benjamin & Fally, Thibault, 2017. "Firm Heterogeneity in Consumption Baskets: Evidence from Home and Store Scanner Data," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt7z60j648, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt7z60j648
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    Cited by:

    1. Bachas, Pierre & Gadenne, Lucie & Jensen, Anders, 2020. "Informality, Consumption Taxes and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 14945, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. He, Zheli, 2018. "Trade and Real Wages of the Rich and Poor: Cross-Region Evidence," SocArXiv bme6k, Center for Open Science.
    3. Xavier Jaravel & Erick Sager, 2019. "What are the Price Effects of Trade? Evidence from the US and Implications for Quantitative Trade Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp1642, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Redding, Stephen J. & Weinstein, David E., 2016. "A unified approach to estimating demand and welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67681, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Caron, Justin & Fally, Thibault & Markusen, James, 2020. "Per capita income and the demand for skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    6. repec:boi:isrerv:v:16:y:2019:i:2:p:141-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Katheryn N. Russ, 2018. "Review Of “Globalization And Inequality” By Elhanan Helpman," Israel Economic Review, Bank of Israel, vol. 16(2), pages 141-147.
    8. Stephen J Redding & David E Weinstein, 2020. "Measuring Aggregate Price Indices with Taste Shocks: Theory and Evidence for CES Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(1), pages 503-560.
    9. Hummels, David & Lee, Kwan Yong, 2018. "The income elasticity of import demand: Micro evidence and an application," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 20-34.
    10. Ardelean, Adina & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr, 2019. "Tariffs, product quality, and the relative prices of durables: Evidence from 1989 to 2009 U.S. microdata," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 54-75.
    11. Jessie Handbury, 2019. "Are Poor Cities Cheap for Everyone? Non-Homotheticity and the Cost of Living Across U.S. Cities," NBER Working Papers 26574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. David Hummels & Kwan Yong Lee, 2017. "The Income Elasticity of Import Demand: Micro Evidence and An Application," NBER Working Papers 23338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Paul Piveteau & gabriel smagghue, 2018. "The Impact of Chinese Competition along the Quality Ladder," 2018 Meeting Papers 509, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Thibault Fally, 2018. "Integrability and Generalized Separability," NBER Working Papers 25025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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