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Information and Price Dispersion: Theory and Evidence

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  • Pennerstorfer, Dieter
  • Schmidt-Dengler, Philipp
  • Schutz, Nicolas
  • Weiss, Christoph
  • Yontcheva, Biliana

Abstract

We examine the relationship between information and price dispersion in the retail gasoline market. We first show that the clearinghouse models in the spirit of Stahl (1989) generate an inverted-U relationship between information and price dispersion. We construct a new measure of information based on precise commuter data from Austria. Regular commuters can freely sample gasoline prices on their commuting route, providing us with spatial variation in the share of informed consumers. We use detailed information on gas station level prices to construct price dispersion measures. Our empirical estimates of the relationship are in line with the theoretical predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Pennerstorfer, Dieter & Schmidt-Dengler, Philipp & Schutz, Nicolas & Weiss, Christoph & Yontcheva, Biliana, 2015. "Information and Price Dispersion: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 10771, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10771
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    Cited by:

    1. Shelegia, Sandro & Wilson, Chris, 2016. "A Generalized Model of Sales," EconStor Preprints 147411, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    2. Saul Lach & José L. Moraga†González, 2017. "Asymmetric Price Effects of Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 767-803, December.
    3. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Siekmann, Manuel, 2015. "Price dispersion and station heterogeneity on German retail gasoline markets," DICE Discussion Papers 171, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:57:p:5740-5752 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Justus Haucap & Ulrich Heimeshoff & Manuel Siekmann, 2017. "Fuel Prices and Station Heterogeneity on Retail Gasoline Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
    6. Firgo, Matthias & Pennerstorfer, Dieter & Weiss, Christoph R., 2015. "Centrality and pricing in spatially differentiated markets: The case of gasoline," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 81-90.
    7. Stühmeier Torben, 2015. "Price Disclosure Rules and Consumer Price Comparison," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 815-835, April.
    8. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Siekmann, Manuel, 2016. "Selling gasoline as a by-product: The impact of market structure on local prices," DICE Discussion Papers 240, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    9. Avi Weiss & Joshua Sherman, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Costs and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 2014-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    10. Gugler, Klaus & Heim, Sven & Liebensteiner, Mario, 2016. "Non-Sequential Search, Competition and Price Dispersion in Retail Electricity," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 5038, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    11. Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2017. "Geographical dispersion of consumer search behaviour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(57), pages 5740-5752, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    commuter data; price dispersion; retail gasoline; search;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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