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Geographical Dispersion of Consumer Search Behavior

Listed author(s):
  • Hakan Yilmazkuday

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

This paper investigates whether consumer search behavior differs across zip codes within the U.S.. As an application, daily gasoline price data covering virtually all gas stations within the U.S. are employed to estimate the distribution of search costs in each zip code. The results show that there are significant differences across zip codes regarding the expected number of searches achieved before consumers purchase gasoline. In order to have a systematic explanation, such differences are further connected to geographic, demographic and economic conditions of the zip codes in a secondary analysis. The corresponding results imply several strategies for gas stations in order to maximize profits/markups; suggestions follow for policy makers and regulators to reduce redistributive effects of information barriers across locations.

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File URL: http://economics.fiu.edu/research/working-papers/2017/1705/1705.pdf
File Function: First version, 2017
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Florida International University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1705.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2017
Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:1705
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Miami, FL 33199

Phone: (305) 348-2316
Fax: (305) 348-1524
Web page: http://economics.fiu.edu

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  1. Moraga-González, José Luis & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2008. "Maximum likelihood estimation of search costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 820-848, July.
  2. Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1445, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Haucap, Justus & Müller, Hans Christian, 2012. "The Effects of Gasoline Price Regulations: Experimental Evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 47, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  4. Dieter Pennerstorfer & Philipp Schmidt-Dengler & Nicolas Schutz & Christoph R. Weiss & Biliana Yontcheva, 2015. "Information and Price Dispersion. Theory and Evidence," WIFO Working Papers 502, WIFO.
  5. Marvel, Howard P, 1976. "The Economics of Information and Retail Gasoline Price Behavior: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 1033-1060, October.
  6. Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2011. "An empirical model of search with vertically differentiated products," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(4), pages 729-757, December.
  7. Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, and Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456.
  8. Matthew Lewis, 2008. "PRICE DISPERSION AND COMPETITION WITH DIFFERENTIATED SELLERS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 654-678, 09.
  9. Ambarish Chandra & Mariano Tappata, 2011. "Consumer search and dynamic price dispersion: an application to gasoline markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(4), pages 681-704, December.
  10. Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2006. "Using price distributions to estimate search costs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 257-275, 06.
  11. An, Yonghong & Hu, Yingyao & Shum, Matthew, 2010. "Estimating first-price auctions with an unknown number of bidders: A misclassification approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(2), pages 328-341, August.
  12. Abrantes-Metz, Rosa M. & Froeb, Luke M. & Geweke, John & Taylor, Christopher T., 2006. "A variance screen for collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 467-486, May.
  13. Patrick Bajari & Stephanie Houghton & Steve Tadelis, 2006. "Bidding for Incomplete Contracts: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 12051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Matt Shum & Phil Haile & Han Hong, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Auctions," Economics Working Paper Archive 501, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  15. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
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