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Revealed Preference Analysis of Characteristics Models

  • Martin Browning
  • Laura Blow

Characteristics models have been found to be useful in many areas of economics. However, their empirical implementation tends to rely heavily on functional form assumptions. In this paper we develop a revealed preference approach to characteristics models. We derive the necessary and sufficient empirical conditions under which data on the market behaviour of heterogeneous, price-taking consumers are nonparametrically consistent with the consumer characteristics model. Where these conditions hold, we show how information may be recovered on individual consumer`s marginal valuations of product attributes. In some cases marginal valuations are point identified and in other cases we can only recover bounds. Where the conditions fail we highlight the role which the introduction of unobserved product attributes can play in rationalising the data. We implement these ideas using consumer panel data on the Danish milk market.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper282.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 282.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:282
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Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Household Production Theory, Quality, and the "Hedonic Technique."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 977-94, December.
  2. Browning, M J, 1983. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Conditional Cost Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 851-56, May.
  3. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 1998. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," Discussion Papers 99-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  5. Diewert, W E, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 419-25, July.
  6. Richard Blundell & Robin, J M, 1995. "Latent separability: grouping goods without weak separability," IFS Working Papers W95/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Ian Crawford, 2006. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Latent Separability," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0706, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  8. Diewert, W. E. & Parkan, C., 1985. "Tests for the consistency of consumer data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 127-147.
  9. C. Lanier Benkard & Patrick Bajari, 2004. "Demand Estimation with Heterogeneous Consumers and Unobserved Product Characteristics: A Hedonic Approach," NBER Working Papers 10278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Varian, Hal R, 1983. "Non-Parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110, January.
  11. Pudney, Steven E, 1981. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of a Characteristics Model of Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 417-33, July.
  12. Varian, Hal R, 1984. "The Nonparametric Approach to Production Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 579-97, May.
  13. Bajari, Patrick & Benkard, C. Lanier, 2004. "Demand Estimation With Heterogeneous Consumers and Unobserved Product Characteristics: A Hedonic Approach," Research Papers 1842, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  14. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  15. Heckman, James & Scheinkman, Jose, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 243-55, April.
  16. Hanoch, Giora & Rothschild, Michael, 1972. "Testing the Assumptions of Production Theory: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 256-75, March-Apr.
  17. Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Revealed preference with a subset of goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 179-185, October.
  18. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
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