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Estimating the Effect of Salience in Wholesale and Retail Car Markets

  • Meghan R. Busse
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Devin G. Pope
  • Jorge Silva-Risso
  • Justin R. Sydnor

We investigate whether the first digit of an odometer reading is more salient to consumers than subsequent digits. We find that retail transaction prices and volumes of used vehicles drop discontinuously at 10,000-mile odometer thresholds, echoing effects found in the wholesale market by Lacetera, Pope and Sydnor (2012). Our results reveal that retail consumers devote limited attention to evaluating vehicle mileage, and that this drives effects in the wholesale market. We estimate the inattention parameter implied by the price discontinuities. In addition, our results suggest that estimating consumer-level structural parameters using data from an intermediate market can give misleading results.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18820.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Publication status: published as Meghan R. Busse & Nicola Lacetera & Devin G. Pope & Jorge Silva-Risso & Justin R. Sydnor, 2013. "Estimating the Effect of Salience in Wholesale and Retail Car Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 575-79, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18820
Note: IO PR LS
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  1. Justin R. Sydnor & Devin G. Pope & Nicola Lacetera, 2011. "Heuristic Thinking and Limited Attention in the Car Market," 2011 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  3. Meghan Busse & Jorge Silva-Risso & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2006. "$1,000 Cash Back: The Pass-Through of Auto Manufacturer Promotions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1253-1270, September.
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