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Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models in Continuous Time with an Application to Retail Competition

  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Patrick Bayer
  • Jason R. Blevins
  • Paul B. Ellickson

This paper develops a dynamic model of retail competition and uses it to study the impact of the expansion of a new national competitor on the structure of urban markets. In order to accommodate substantial heterogeneity (both observed and unobserved) across agents and markets, the paper first develops a general framework for estimating and solving dynamic discrete choice models in continuous time that is computationally light and readily applicable to dynamic games. In the proposed framework, players face a standard dynamic discrete choice problem at decision times that occur stochastically. The resulting stochastic-sequential structure naturally admits the use of CCP methods for estimation and makes it possible to compute counterfactual simulations for relatively high-dimensional games. The model and method are applied to the retail grocery industry, into which Wal-Mart began rapidly expanding in the early 1990s, eventually attaining a dominant position. We find that Wal-Mart’s expansion into groceries came mostly at the expense of the large incumbent supermarket chains, rather than the single-store outlets that bore the brunt of its earlier conquest of the broader general merchandise sector. Instead, we find that independent grocers actually thrive when Wal-Mart enters, leading to an overall reduction in market concentration. These competitive effects are strongest in larger markets and those into which Wal-Mart expanded most rapidly, suggesting a diminishing role of scale and a greater emphasis on differentiation in this previously mature industry.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18449.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18449
Note: IO TWP
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  1. Victor Aguirregabiria & Pedro Mira, 2004. "Sequential Estimation Of Dynamic Discrete Games," Working Papers wp2004_0413, CEMFI.
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  10. Che-Lin Su & Kenneth L. Judd, 2008. "Constrainted Optimization Approaches to Estimation of Structural Models," Discussion Papers 1460, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  12. Paul B. Ellickson & Stephanie Houghton & Christopher Timmins, 2010. "Estimating Network Economies in Retail Chains: A Revealed Preference Approach," NBER Working Papers 15832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Liran Einav, 2010. "Not All Rivals Look Alike: Estimating An Equilibrium Model Of The Release Date Timing Game," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 369-390, 04.
  16. Peter Arcidiacono & Robert A. Miller, 2011. "Conditional Choice Probability Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models With Unobserved Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1823-1867, November.
  17. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1998. "The Effect of Work Experience on Female Wages and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 45-85, January.
  18. Thomas J. Holmes, 2011. "The Diffusion of Wal‐Mart and Economies of Density," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 253-302, 01.
  19. Philipp Schmidt-Dengler, 2006. "The Timing of New Technology Adoption: The Case of MRI," 2006 Meeting Papers 3, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Ellickson, Paul B. & Grieco, Paul L.E., 2013. "Wal-Mart and the geography of grocery retailing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 1-14.
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  22. Panle Jia, 2008. "What Happens When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: An Empirical Analysis of the Discount Retailing Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1263-1316, November.
  23. Paul Ellickson & Beresteanu Arie, 2005. "The Dynamics of Retail Oligopolies," 2005 Meeting Papers 829, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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