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Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data

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  • Shantanu Dutta

    (USC)

  • Mark Bergen

    (Minnesota)

  • Daniel Levy

    (Bar-Ilan & Emory)

Abstract

In this study, we empirically examine the extent of price rigidity using a unique store-level time series data set - consisting of (i) actual retail transaction prices, (ii) actual wholesale transaction prices which represent both the retailers' costs and the prices received by manufacturers, and (iii) a measure of manufacturers' costs - for twelve goods in two widely used consumer product categories. We simultaneously examine the extent of price rigidity for each of the twelve products at both, final goods and intermediate goods levels. We study two notions of price rigidity employed in the existing literature: (i) the frequency of price changes, and (ii) the response of prices to exogenous cost changes. We find that retail prices exhibit remarkable flexibility in terms of both notions of price rigidity. i.e., they change frequently and they seem to respond quickly and fully to cost changes. Furthermore, we find that retail prices respond not just to their direct costs, but also to the upstream manufacturers' costs, which further reinforces the extent of the retail price flexibility. At the intermediate goods level of the market, in contrast, we find relatively more evidence of rigidity in the response of manufacturers prices to cost changes. This despite the fact that wholesale prices change frequently and therefore exhibit flexibility according to the first notion of price rigidity.

Suggested Citation

  • Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2004. "Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data," Macroeconomics 0402018, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0402018
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    Keywords

    Price Flexibility; Price Rigidity; Final Goods Market; Intermediate Goods Market; Stages of Processing; Structural VAR; Scanner Data; Transaction Price Data; Frequency of Price Changes; Price Response to Exogeneous Cost Changes; Retail Price; Wholesale Price; New Keynesian Macroeconomics; How Markets Clear; Time Series Analysis; Orange Juice; Orange Juice Frozen Concentrate; Futures Market;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness

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