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Does Marketing Widen Borders? Cross-Country Price Dispersion in the European Car Market

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  • Eyal Dvir
  • Georg Strasser

Abstract

We study cross-country price differences in the European market for new passenger cars based on detailed pricing and technical data. Car prices in Europe converged until the year 2003, but not thereafter. Within the EU 15 countries the price range of the median model in 2004 was close to 20 percent. We document a source of international price differentiation, which is not related to distribution and border costs, but instead systematically linked to product features. Price dispersion increases with the market segment and varies significantly across models. Marketing appears to position identical goods differently in each country, for example by feature bundles tailored to local consumer preferences. Both the convergence before the actual reduction of barriers to arbitrage and the systematic international price differentiation by product feature point to active pricing-to-market strategies that treat countries as marketing regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Eyal Dvir & Georg Strasser, 2017. "Does Marketing Widen Borders? Cross-Country Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 6639, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6639
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    4. Dvir, Eyal & Strasser, Georg, 2018. "Does marketing widen borders? Cross-country price dispersion in the European car market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 134-149.
    5. Alberto Cavallo & Brent Neiman & Roberto Rigobon, 2015. "The Price Impact of Joining a Currency Union: Evidence from Latvia," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 63(2), pages 281-297, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    arbitrage; European car market; international price dispersion; law of one price; market segmentation;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

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