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State Dependence and Alternative Explanations for Consumer Inertia

  • Jean-Pierre Dubé
  • Günter J. Hitsch
  • Peter E. Rossi

For many consumer packaged goods products, researchers have documented a form of state dependence whereby consumers become "loyal" to products they have consumed in the past. That is, consumers behave as though there is a utility premium from continuing to purchase the same product as they have purchased in the past or, equivalently, there is a psychological cost to switching products. However, it has not been established that this form of state dependence can be identified in the presence of consumer heterogeneity of an unknown form. Most importantly, before this inertia can be given a structural interpretation and used in policy experiments such as counterfactual pricing exercises,alternative explanations which might give rise to similar consumer behavior must be ruled out. We develop a flexible model of heterogeneity which can be given a semi-parametric interpretation and rule out alternative explanations for positive state dependence such as autocorrelated choice errors, consumer search, or consumer learning.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14912.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: published as Jean-Pierre Dubé & Günter J. Hitsch & Peter E. Rossi, 2010. "State dependence and alternative explanations for consumer inertia," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 417-445.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14912
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  1. Daniel A. Ackerberg, 2003. "Advertising, learning, and consumer choice in experience good markets: an empirical examination," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 1007-1040, 08.
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  3. Paul Klemperer & Joseph Farrell, 2006. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Tülin Erdem & Susumu Imai & Michael Keane, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 5-64, March.
  5. Nickolay V. Moshkin & Ron Shachar, 2002. "The Asymmetric Information Model of State Dependence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(4), pages 435-454, August.
  6. Hoyer, Wayne D, 1984. " An Examination of Consumer Decision Making for a Common Repeat Purchase Product," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 822-29, December.
  7. Keane, Michael P, 1997. "Modeling Heterogeneity and State Dependence in Consumer Choice Behavior," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 310-27, July.
  8. Peter E. Rossi & Robert E. McCulloch & Greg M. Allenby, 1996. "The Value of Purchase History Data in Target Marketing," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(4), pages 321-340.
  9. Nitin Mehta & Surendra Rajiv & Kannan Srinivasan, 2003. "Price Uncertainty and Consumer Search: A Structural Model of Consideration Set Formation," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 58-84, June.
  10. Erdem, Tulin & Sun, Baohong, 2001. "Testing for Choice Dynamics in Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(2), pages 142-52, April.
  11. Jean-Pierre Dubé & Günter J. Hitsch & Peter E. Rossi & Maria Ana Vitorino, 2008. "Category Pricing with State-Dependent Utility," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(3), pages 417-429, 05-06.
  12. P. B. Seetharaman, 2004. "Modeling Multiple Sources of State Dependence in Random Utility Models: A Distributed Lag Approach," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 263-271, April.
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