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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. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Kyle Bagwell, 1987. "Introductory Price as a Signal of Cost in a Model of Repeat Business," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 365-384.
  5. Borenstein, S. & Shepard, A., 1993. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gazoline Markets," Papers 93-22, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark Bils, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718.
  9. Duncan Simester, 1995. "Signalling Price Image Using Advertised Prices," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 166-188.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Elizabeth J. Warner & Robert B. Barsky, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-352.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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