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Implicit Contracts and Price Stickiness: Evidence from Customer-Level Scanner Data

  • B. VERHELST

    ()

  • D. VAN DEN POEL

This paper uses scanner data at the individual customer level, compiled from the loyalty card database of a European retailer, to determine the importance of implicit contracts as a source of price stickiness. Drawing from Customer Relationship Management (CRM), we use segmentation techniques and cluster analysis to split up the customer base in three groups according to their behavioural loyalty to the retailer. We then perform a demand analysis on the loyal and nonloyal segments in parallel, discarding the large middle cluster. Our results from estimating a Behavioural Almost Ideal Demand System (B-AIDS) for numerous product categories reveal that loyal customers have a considerably more concave demand curve than non-loyals. This result holds true in the aggregate, and for all but some individual product categories. The more pronounced asymmetry in the price elasticity of demand for loyal customers is a major incentive for the retailer to commit to a sticky price.

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File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_12_776.pdf
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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 12/776.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:12/776
Contact details of provider: Postal: Hoveniersberg 4, B-9000 Gent
Phone: ++ 32 (0) 9 264 34 61
Fax: ++ 32 (0) 9 264 35 92
Web page: http://www.ugent.be/eb

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  1. Silvia Fabiani & Martine Druant & Ignacio Hernando & Claudia Kwapil & Bettina Landau & Claire Loupias & Fernando Martins & Thomas Mathä & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Ad Stokman, 2005. "The pricing behaviour of firms in the Euro area: new survey evidence," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0536, Banco de Espa�a.
  2. Dirk Van den Poel & Benjamin Verhelst, 2011. "Price Rigidity in Europe and the US: A Comparative Analysis Using Scanner Data," 2011 Meeting Papers 524, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
  4. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2001. "Micro Foundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Working Paper Series 128, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  5. Silvia Fabiani & Martine Druant & Ignacio Hernando & Claudia Kwapil & Bettina Landau & Claire Loupias & Fernando Martins & Thomas Mathä & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Ad Stokman, 2006. "What Firms' Surveys Tell Us about Price-Setting Behavior in the Euro Area," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(3), September.
  6. George Baltas, 2002. "An applied analysis of brand demand structure," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(9), pages 1171-1175.
  7. Alan S. Blinder, 1991. "Why are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," NBER Working Papers 3646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2008. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 863-904, August.
  9. Hall, Simon & Walsh, Mark & Yates, Anthony, 2000. "Are UK Companies' Prices Sticky?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 425-46, July.
  10. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Álvarez & Hervé Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lünnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: Some stylized facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Working Papers w200506, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  11. Douglas Fisher & Adrian R. Fleissig & Apostolos Serletis, 2001. "An empirical comparison of flexible demand system functional forms," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 59-80.
  12. Alston, Julian M & Foster, Kenneth A & Green, Richard D, 1994. "Estimating Elasticities with the Linear Approximate Almost Ideal Demand System: Some Monte Carlo Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 351-56, May.
  13. M. Dossche & F. Heylen & D. Van Den Poel, 2006. "The Kinked Demand Curve and Price Rigidity : Evidence from Scanner Data," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/429, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  14. Jan Roelf Bult & Tom Wansbeek, 1995. "Optimal Selection for Direct Mail," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 378-394.
  15. Nakamura, Emi & Steinsson, Jón, 2011. "Price setting in forward-looking customer markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 220-233.
  16. Lakshman Krishnamurthi & S. P. Raj, 1991. "An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship Between Brand Loyalty and Consumer Price Elasticity," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(2), pages 172-183.
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