An Empirical Model of Search with Vertically Differentiated Products
This paper presents a non-sequential search model that allows for vertical product differentiation. In the unique symmetric equilibrium firms with different characteristics draw utilities from a common utility distribution, resulting in asymmetric price distributions. The model therefore provides a theoretical rationale for explaining price dispersion as a result of quality differences and search frictions together. More specifically, the model can explain the frequent and asymmetric price changes reported in several empirical papers, but also why some firms have persistently higher prices than others. Using the equilibrium conditions derived from the model, we show how to estimate search costs by maximum likelihood using only prices. The method is applied to a data set of prices for grocery items from supermarkets in the UK. Estimates reveal that most of the observed price variation can be explained by supermarket heterogeneity and that the estimated amount of search is low in this market. We show that ignoring vertical product differentiation results in an overestimation of search costs. Moreover, estimated search costs using a basket of organic items are on average higher than that of a similar non-organic basket. We also simulate how changes in search costs will affect behavior of stores and consumers.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
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.:
- Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
- Howard Smith, 2006. "Store characteristics in retail oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 416-430, 06.
- 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.
- repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:257-275 is not listed on IDEAS
- Babur De los Santos, 2008.
"Consumer Search on the Internet,"
08-15, NET Institute, revised Sep 2008.
- Morgan, Peter & Manning, Richard, 1985. "Optimal Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 923-44, July.
- Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
- Wolinsky, Asher, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511, August.
- Martin Pesendorfer, 2002. "Retail Sales: A Study of Pricing Behavior in Supermarkets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 33-66, January.
- Howard Smith, 2004. "Supermarket Choice and Supermarket Competition in Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 235-263.
- 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.
- Yingyao Hu & Matthew Shum, 2007. "Estimating First-Price Auctions with an Unknown Number of Bidders: A Misclassification Approach," Economics Working Paper Archive 541, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Saul Lach, 2002.
"Existence and Persistence of Price Dispersion: an Empirical Analysis,"
NBER Working Papers
8737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Saul Lach, 2002. "Existence And Persistence Of Price Dispersion: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 433-444, August.
- Matthew Lewis, 2008. "PRICE DISPERSION AND COMPETITION WITH DIFFERENTIATED SELLERS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 654-678, 09.
- Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-Gonz�lez, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118.
- Ali Hortaç Su & 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, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
- Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2006. "Information, Search, and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 2006-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Armstrong, Mark, 2008. "Interactions between competition and consumer policy," MPRA Paper 7258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2004.
"Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions,"
2004.149, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values at First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," NBER Working Papers 10105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Howard Smith, 2004. "Supermarket Choice and Supermarket Competition in Market�Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 235-263, 01.
- 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.
- Daniel Hosken & David Reiffen, 2004. "Patterns of Retail Price Variation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 128-146, Spring.
- 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.
- Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2004. "Price Dispersion in the Small and in the Large: Evidence from an Internet Price Comparison Site," Working Papers 2004-03, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Patrick Bajari & Stephanie Houghton & Steve Tadelis, 2006. "Bidding for Incomplete Contracts: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 12051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:416-430 is not listed on IDEAS
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2009-01. 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.