Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry
Using data collected between August 1999 and January 2000 covering 399 books, including New York Times bestsellers, computer bestsellers, and random books, we examine pricing by thirty-two online bookstores. One common prediction is that the reduction in search costs on the Internet relative to the physical channel would cause both price and price dispersion to fall. Over the sample period, we find no change in either price or price dispersion. Another prediction of the search literature is that the prices and price dispersion of advertised items or items that are purchased repeatedly will be lower than for unadvertised or infrequently purchased items. Prices across categories of books appear to conform to this prediction, with New York Times bestsellers having the lowest prices as a fraction of the publisher's suggested price and random books having the highest prices. Interestingly, price dispersion does not conform with this prediction, apparently for reasons related to stores' decisions to carry particular books. One reason why we may not observe convergence in prices is because stores have succeeded in differentiating themselves even though they are selling a commodity product. We observe differentiation (or attempted differentiation) by a significant number of firms.
|Date of creation:||May 2001|
|Publication status:||published as Clay, Karen & Krishnan, Ramayya & Wolff, Eric, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(4), pages 521-39, December.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Michael Rauh, "undated".
"A Model of Temporary Search Market Equilibrium,"
Economics and Finance Discussion Papers
97-08, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
- Louis L. Wilde & Alan Schwartz, 1979. "Equilibrium Comparison Shopping," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 543-553.
- Jeffrey Milyo & Joel Waldfogel, 1998.
"The Effect of Price Advertising on Prices: Evidence in the Wake of 44 Liquormart,"
Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University
9807, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Joel Waldfogel & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "The Effect of Price Advertising on Prices: Evidence in the Wake of 44 Liquormart," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1081-1096, December.
- Jeffrey Milyo & Joel Waldfogel, 1998. "The Effect of Price Advertising and Prices: Evidence in the Wake of 44 Liquormart," NBER Working Papers 6488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benham, Lee, 1972. "The Effect of Advertising on the Price of Eyeglasses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 337-352, October.
- Benabou Roland, 1993.
"Search Market Equilibrium, Bilateral Heterogeneity, and Repeat Purchases,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 140-158, June.
- Benabou, Roland, 1988. "Search market equilibrium bilateral heterogeneity and repeat purchases," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8806, CEPREMAP.
- Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
- Feldman, Roger D & Begun, James W, 1980. "Does Advertising of Prices Reduce the Mean and Variance of Prices?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 487-492, July.
- Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
- Arnold, Michael A, 2000. "Costly Search, Capacity Constraints, and Bertrand Equilibrium Price Dispersion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 117-131, February.
- Glazer, Amihai, 1981. "Advertising, Information, and Prices-A Case Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(4), pages 661-671, October.
- D. Grant Devine & Bruce W. Marion, 1979. "The Influence of Consumer Price Information on Retail Pricing and Consumer Behavior," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 61(2), pages 228-237.
- Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
- Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-1130, December.
- Steven C. Salop & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1977.
"Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion,"
Special Studies Papers
94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8271. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.