IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Are Durable Goods Consumers Forward Looking? Evidence from College Textbooks

  • Judith Chevalier
  • Austan Goolsbee

Popular wisdom holds that publishers revise college textbooks mainly to kill off the secondary market for used books. While this behavior might be profitable if consumers are myopic, uninformed or have high short-run discount rates (that exceed the publishers'), neoclassical authors have noted that it will typically not be profitable if publishers can precommit not to cut prices and if consumers are forward-looking and have similar discount rates as the publishers; the consumer's willingness to pay for new books falls if they know that they cannot resell their used books. Using a large new dataset on all textbooks sold in psychology, biology and economics in the 10 semesters from 1997 to 2001, we estimate a demand system for books to test whether textbook consumers are forward-looking. The data strongly support the view that students are forward-looking with low short-run discount rates and that they have rational expectations of publishers' revision behavior. When the students buy their textbooks, they correctly take into account the probability that they will not be able to resell their books at the end of the semester due to a new edition release. Conditional on faculty assignment behavior, simulation results suggest that students are sufficiently forward-looking that publishers could not raise revenues by accelerating current revision cycles.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11421.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11421.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Judith Chevalier & Austan Goolsbee, 2009. "Are Durable Goods Consumers Forward-Looking? Evidence from College Textbooks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1853-1884, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11421
Note: IO
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.orgEmail:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Austan Goolsbee & Amil Petrin, 2001. "The Consumer Gains from Direct Broadcast Satellites and the Competition with Cable Television," NBER Working Papers 8317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1972. "Monopoly and Contrived Depreciation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 598-602, May-June.
  3. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  4. Rust, John, 1986. "When Is It Optimal to Kill Off the Market for Used Durable Goods?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 65-86, January.
  5. Steven Berry & Michael Carnall & Pablo T. Spiller, 1996. "Airline Hubs: Costs, Markups and the Implications of Customer Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 5561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
  8. Waldman, Michael, 1993. "A New Perspective on Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 273-83, February.
  9. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  10. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1990. "Expenditure on Durable Goods: A Case for Slow Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 727-43, August.
  12. Ricardo J. Caballero, 1991. "Durable Goods: An Explanation for Their Slow Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 3748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Peter L. Swan, 1971. "The Durability of Goods and Regulation of Monopoly," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 347-357, Spring.
  14. Janice C. Eberly, . "Adjustment of Consumers' Durables Stocks: Evidence from Automobile Purchases," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 22-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  15. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 13375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Daniel A. Levinthal & Devavrat Purohit, 1989. "Durable Goods and Product Obsolescence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 8(1), pages 35-56.
  17. Sieper, E & Swan, P L, 1973. "Monopoly and Competition in the Market for Durable Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 333-51, July.
  18. Swan, Peter L, 1970. "Durability of Consumption Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 884-94, December.
  19. David Besanko & Jean-Pierre Dubé & Sachin Gupta, 2003. "Competitive Price Discrimination Strategies in a Vertical Channel Using Aggregate Retail Data," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(9), pages 1121-1138, September.
  20. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Durable Goods Theory for Real World Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 131-154, Winter.
  21. Bulow, Jeremy, 1986. "An Economic Theory of Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 729-49, November.
  22. Carlton, Dennis W & Gertner, Robert, 1989. "Market Power and Mergers in Durable-Good Industries," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages S203-26, October.
  23. Nancy L. Stokey, 1981. "Rational Expectations and Durable Goods Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 112-128, Spring.
  24. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  25. Faruk Gul & Hugo Sonnenschein & Robert Wilson, 2010. "Foundations of Dynamic Monopoly and the Coase Conjecture," Levine's Working Paper Archive 232, David K. Levine.
  26. Swan, Peter L, 1980. "Alcoa: The Influence of Recycling on Monopoly Power," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 76-99, February.
  27. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-32, April.
  28. Susanna Esteban & Matthew Shum, 2007. "Durable-goods oligopoly with secondary markets: the case of automobiles," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 332-354, 06.
  29. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11421. 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: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.