IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

When Little Things Mean a Lot: On the Inefficiency of Item Pricing Laws

  • Bergen, Mark
  • Levy, Daniel
  • Ray, Sourav
  • Rubin, Paul
  • Zeliger, Ben

Item pricing laws (IPLs) require a price tag on every item sold by a retailer. We study IPLs and assess their efficiency by quantifying their costs and comparing them to previously documented benefits. On the cost side, we posit that IPLs should lead to higher prices because they increase the cost of pricing as well as the cost of price adjustment. We test this prediction using data collected from large supermarket chains in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which offer a unique setting because these states vary in their use of IPLs, but otherwise offer geographical proximity with each other and similar markets, supermarket chains, and socioeconomic environments. We find that IPL store prices are higher by about 20¢–25¢ or 8.0%–9.6% per item on average, in comparison to non-IPL stores. As a control, we use data from stores that are exempt from IPL requirements (because they use electronic shelf labels), and find that their prices fall between IPL and non-IPL store prices. To assess the efficiency of IPLs, we compare these costs to existing measures of the benefits of IPLs which are based on measurements of the frequency and the magnitude of pricing errors the IPLs are supposed to prevent. We find that the costs of IPLs are an order of magnitude higher than the upper bound of these estimate benefits.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1158/1/MPRA_paper_1158.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1158.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 08 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1158
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Daniel Levy & Georg Müller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2002-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert B. Barsky & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2003. "What Can the Price Gap between Branded and Private-Label Products Tell Us about Markups?," NBER Chapters, in: Scanner Data and Price Indexes, pages 165-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1997, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Sourav Ray & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2005. "Asymmetric Wholesale Pricing: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2005-02, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  5. Levy, Daniel & Dutta, Shantanu & Bergen, Mark, 2002. "Heterogeneity in Price Rigidity: Evidence from a Case Study Using Microlevel Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 197-220, February.
  6. Mark J. Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 514-533, May.
  7. Jarrell, Gregg & Peltzman, Sam, 1985. "The Impact of Product Recalls on the Wealth of Sellers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 512-36, June.
  8. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
  9. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2002. "Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data," Working Papers 2002-10, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  10. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy & Mark Ritson, 2005. "Beyond the Cost of Price Adjustment: Investments in Pricing Capital," Macroeconomics 0505013, EconWPA.
  11. Daniel Levy & Haipeng Allan Chen & Sourav Ray & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment "in the Small:" An Implication of Rational Inattention," Macroeconomics 0407012, EconWPA, revised 11 May 2005.
  12. Beales, Howard & Craswell, Richard & Salop, Steven C, 1981. "The Efficient Regulation of Consumer Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 491-539, December.
  13. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Ricardo Reis, 2004. "Inattentive Consumers," Working Papers 135, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics.
  15. Julio Rotemberg, 1987. "The New Keynesian Microfoundations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 69-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
  17. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  18. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  19. Peltzman, Sam, 1981. "The Effects of FTC Advertising Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 403-48, December.
  20. 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.
  21. Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Robert Venable, 2005. "Price Adjustment at Multiproduct Retailers," Industrial Organization 0505005, EconWPA.
  22. H.E. Frech, 1993. "Product-Risk Labeling," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53129, April.
  23. Sam Peltzman, 1998. "Prices Rise Faster Than They Fall," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 142, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  24. 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.
  25. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2003. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 15-37, March.
  26. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Robert Venable, 2005. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Macroeconomics 0505007, EconWPA.
  27. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  28. 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 337-52, October.
  29. Eitan Gerstner & James D. Hess, 1990. "Can Bait and Switch Benefit Consumers?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(2), pages 114-124.
  30. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1158. 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: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.