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Different Prices for Identical Products? Market Efficiency and the Virtual Location in B2C E-Commerce

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  • Häring, Julia

Abstract

This paper analyses market efficiency and the role of the virtual location in digital markets using a data set containing more than 23,000 price observations from the online market for contact lenses as well as detailed information about online retailer and product characteristics. The data allow to implement and test the concept of virtual location. The empirical results reveal evidence for lower prices and less price dispersion among e-retailers in comparison to hybrid retailers, which supports the hypothesis of enhanced market efficiency in electronic markets. Furthermore, the results show that an online shop?s virtual location influences its prices and that differences in prices are partially driven by differentiation in retailer service. A decomposition of the price differential reveals that there may indeed be a competition effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Häring, Julia, 2003. "Different Prices for Identical Products? Market Efficiency and the Virtual Location in B2C E-Commerce," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-68, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:1679
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    electronic markets; efficiency; virtual location; pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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