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Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data

  • Judith A. Chevalier
  • Anil K. Kashyap
  • Peter E. Rossi

We examine the retail prices and wholesale prices of a large supermarket chain in Chicago over seven and one-half years. We show that prices tend to fall during the seasonal demand peak for a product and that changes in retail margins account for most of those price changes; thus we add to the growing body of evidence that markups are counter-cyclical. The pattern of margin changes that we observe is consistent with loss leader' models such as the Lal and Matutes (1994) model of retailer pricing and advertising competition. Other models of imperfect competition are less consistent with retailer behavior. Manufacturer behavior plays a more limited role in the counter-cyclicality of prices.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7981.

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Date of creation: Oct 2000
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Publication status: published as Chevalier, Judity A., Anil K. Kashyap and Peter E. Rossi. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods Of Peak Demand? Evidence From Scanner Data," American Economic Review, 2003, v93(1,Mar), 15-37.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7981
Note: EFG IO ME
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  1. Bils, Mark, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718, November.
  2. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  3. Bagwell, Kyle, 1987. "Introductory Price as a Signal of Cost in a Model of Repeat Business," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 365-84, July.
  4. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  6. MacDonald, James M, 2000. "Demand, Information, and Competition: Why Do Food Prices Fall at Seasonal Demand Peaks?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 27-45, March.
  7. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 3206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Severin Borenstein & Andrea Shepard, 1993. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gasoline Markets," NBER Working Papers 4489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
  11. Ghosal, Vivek, 2000. "Product market competition and the industry price-cost markup fluctuations:: role of energy price and monetary changes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 415-444, April.
  12. Rajiv Lal & J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1998. "Price Promotions and Trade Deals with Multiproduct Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 935-949, July.
  13. Nelson, Philip & Siegfried, John J & Howell, John, 1992. "A Simultaneous Equations Model of Coffee Brand Pricing and Advertising," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 54-63, February.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  15. Kenn Ariga & Kenji Matsui & Makoto Watanabe, 2001. "Hot and Spicy: Ups and Downs on the Price Floor and Ceiling at Japanese Supermarkets," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 316, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  16. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
  17. Vrinda Kadiyali & Pradeep Chintagunta & Naufel Vilcassim, 2000. "Manufacturer-Retailer Channel Interactions and Implications for Channel Power: An Empirical Investigation of Pricing in a Local Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 127-148, September.
  18. Duncan Simester, 1995. "Signalling Price Image Using Advertised Prices," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 166-188.
  19. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Theories of Cartel Stability and the Joint Executive Committee," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 37-57, Spring.
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