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Identifying and characterising price leadership in British supermarkets

Author

Listed:
  • Seaton, Jonathan S.

    (Loughborough University)

  • Waterson, Michael

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Price leadership is a concept that lacks precision. We propose a deliberately narrow, falsifiable, definition and illustrate its feasibility using the two leading British supermarket chains. We find both firms engaging in leadership behaviour over a range of products, with the larger being somewhat more dominant but the smaller increasing leadership activity over time. Surprisingly, more price leadership events are price reductions than price increases, but the increases are of larger monetary amounts (so average price increases over time) and the events appear not necessarily related to cost changes. Price leadership appears to play some role in price increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Seaton, Jonathan S. & Waterson, Michael, 2012. "Identifying and characterising price leadership in British supermarkets," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 987, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:987
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:kap:jincot:v:18:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10842-017-0260-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chakraborty, Ratula & Dobson, Paul W. & Seaton, Jonathan S. & Waterson, Michael, 2015. "Pricing in inflationary times: The penny drops," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 71-86.
    3. Paul W. Dobson & Sang-Hyun Kim & Hao Lan, 2016. "Identifying Price-Leadership Structures in Oligopoly," Working papers 2016rwp-99, Yonsei University, Yonsei Economics Research Institute.
    4. Escobar, Juan F. & Llanes, Gastón, 2018. "Cooperation dynamics in repeated games of adverse selection," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 408-443.
    5. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2015. "Endogenous price commitment, sticky and leadership pricing: Evidence from the Italian petrol market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 32-48.
    6. Harrington, Joseph E., 2017. "A theory of collusion with partial mutual understanding," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 140-158.
    7. repec:eee:ejores:v:265:y:2018:i:2:p:735-747 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ante Farm, 2017. "Pricing and price competition in consumer markets," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 120(2), pages 119-133, March.
    9. repec:bla:jageco:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:881-900 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bergantino, Angela Stefania & Capozza, Claudia & Capurso, Mauro, 2017. "Pricing strategies: who leads and who follows in the air and rail passenger markets in Italy," Working Papers 17_3, SIET Società Italiana di Economia dei Trasporti e della Logistica.
    11. Dixon, Huw & Seaton, Jonathan & Waterson, Michael, 2014. "Price Flexibility In British Supermarkets: Moderation And Recession," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1041, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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