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When the Baby Cries at Night: Uninformed and Hurried Buyers in Non-Competitive Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Calzolari, Giacomo
  • Ichino, Andrea
  • Manaresi, Francesco
  • Nellas, Viki

Abstract

We study the entrance in a retail market of consumers who are less elastic because of hurriedness and lack of information. Theory predicts that firms react by increasing prices to expand surplus extraction, but this effect weakens as market competition increases. High frequency data from Italian pharmacies confirm these predictions. Monthly variation in the number of newborns at the city level generates exogenous changes in the number of less elastic buyers (the parents) who consume a basket of hygiene products demanded by more experienced and elastic consumers as well. We estimate that the number of newborns has a positive effect on the equilibrium price even if marginal costs are decreasing. We exploit exogenous variation in market competition generated by the Italian legislation concerning how many pharmacies should operate in a city as a function of the existing population. Using a Regression Discontinuity design we find that an increase in competition has a significant and negative effect on the capacity of sellers to extract surplus from less elastic buyers.

Suggested Citation

  • Calzolari, Giacomo & Ichino, Andrea & Manaresi, Francesco & Nellas, Viki, 2012. "When the Baby Cries at Night: Uninformed and Hurried Buyers in Non-Competitive Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 8856, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8856
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    2. Catherine Schaumans & Frank Verboven, 2008. "Entry and regulation: evidence from health care professions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 949-972.
    3. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rickert, Dennis, 2016. "Consumer state dependence, switching costs, and forward-looking producers. A dynamic discrete choice model applied to the diaper market," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145672, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer's information; demand elasticity; pharmacies; price competition; regression discontinuity;

    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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