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Price Dispersion in the Lab and on the Internet: Theory and Evidence

  • Michael R. Baye

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • John Morgan

    (University of California at Berkeley)

Price dispersion is ubiquitous in settings that closely approximate textbook Bertrand competition. We show (Propositions 2 and 3) that only a little bounded rationality among sellers is needed to rationalize such dispersion. A variety of statistical tests, based on data sets from two independent laboratory experiments and structural estimates of the parameters of our models, suggest that bounded rationality based theories of price dispersion organize the data remarkably well. Evidence is also presented which suggests that the models are consistent with data from a leading Internet price comparison site.

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File URL: http://kelley.iu.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2004-02-baye-morgan.pdf
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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2004-02.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in Rand Journal of Economics, 2004
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2004-02
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  1. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 1998. "Rent Seeking with Bounded Rationality: An Analysis of the All-Pay Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 828-853, August.
  2. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 1998. "Price Competition and Market Concentration: An Experimental Study," Working Paper Series 1998:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Villas-Boas, J Miguel, 1995. "Models of Competitive Price Promotions: Some Empirical Evidence from the Coffee and Saltine Crackers Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 85-107, Spring.
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  7. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
  8. J. Rupert Gatti, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Sequential Search," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1368, Econometric Society.
  9. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
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  11. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  12. Pratt, John W & Wise, David A & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "Price Differences in Almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211, May.
  13. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2004. "Price Dispersion In The Small And In The Large: Evidence From An Internet Price Comparison Site," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 463-496, December.
  14. Spulber, Daniel F, 1995. "Bertrand Competition When Rivals' Costs Are Unknown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-11, March.
  15. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel, 2003. "Buyer search and price dispersion: a laboratory study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 232-260, October.
  16. Martin Sefton & Abdullah Yavas & Eric Abrams, 2000. "An experimental comparison of two search models," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 735-749.
  17. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  18. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1980. "A Model in Which an Increase in the Number of Sellers Leads to a Higher Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1575-79, September.
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  22. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
  23. repec:dgr:uvatin:20000042 is not listed on IDEAS
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