Persistent Price Dispersion in Online Markets
Using data from one of the Internet’s leading price comparison sites for consumer electronics products, we present evidence for the persistence of price dispersion for 36 homogeneous products. The markets for these products are “thick” with an average of over 20 firms selling each product. We show that prices do not converge to the “law of one price” even after an 18 month period. This finding is robust to controls for differences in shipping charges and inventories. Further, we show that product life cycle effects lead to changes in the number of competing firms and the range of price dispersion consistent with the theoretical predictions of the Varian (1980) model. The average number of competing firms declines from about 28 to 10 during the final five months of our dataset. Over this same period, the average range in prices decreases from about 75 percent to 30 percent. After accounting for firm heterogeneities in costs, branding, reputation, trust, product availability and shipping costs, 28 percent of the variation in prices charged for homogeneous products remains unexplained. This is also consistent with the Varian model.
|Date of creation:||2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in The New Economy and Beyond: Past Present and Future, 2006|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1309 East Tenth Street, Room 451, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701|
Web page: http://kelley.iu.edu/bepp/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- J. Rupert Gatti, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Sequential Search," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1368, Econometric Society.
- Spulber, Daniel F, 1995. "Bertrand Competition When Rivals' Costs Are Unknown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-11, March.
- Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
- Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
- Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1979.
"A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 851-58, August.
- Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999.
"Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers,"
Computing in Economics and Finance 1999
1022, Society for Computational Economics.
- Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
- Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009.
"Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet,"
Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, 03.
- Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2004. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," NBER Working Papers 10570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Baye, Michael R. & Morgan, John, 2002. "Information gatekeepers and price discrimination on the internet," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 47-51, June.
- 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.
- Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
- Maarten C.W. Janssen & Jose Luis Moraga, 2000. "Pricing, Consumer Search and the Size of Internet Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-042/1, Tinbergen Institute.
- Yannis Bakos, 2001. "The Emerging Landscape for Retail E-Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 69-80, Winter.
- John W. Pratt & David A. Wise & Richard Zeckhauser, 1979. "Price Differences in almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211.
- Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
- 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.
- Narasimhan, Chakravarthi, 1988. "Competitive Promotional Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 427-49, October.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2006-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rick Harbaugh)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.