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The Impact of Price Adjustment Costs on Price Dispersion in E-Commerce

Author

Listed:
  • René Böheim
  • Franz Hackl
  • Michael Hölzl-Leitner

Abstract

We analyze price dispersion using panel data from a large price comparison site. We use past pricing behavior to instrument for potential endogeneity that might result from the selection of firms to certain product markets. We find that greater price adjustment costs result in greater price dispersion. Although the impact of price adjustment costs on price dispersion became weaker over time, the causal effect of price adjustment costs on price dispersion is still present at the end of the period. Our results are robust to many alternative empirical specifications. We also test a range of alternative explanations of price dispersion, such as search cost, service differentiation, obfuscation, vertical restraints, and market structure.

Suggested Citation

  • René Böheim & Franz Hackl & Michael Hölzl-Leitner, 2019. "The Impact of Price Adjustment Costs on Price Dispersion in E-Commerce," CESifo Working Paper Series 7510, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7510
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp7510.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    price dispersion; price adjustment costs; menu costs; e-commerce;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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