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

  • Häring, Julia
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    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.

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/24019/1/dp0368.pdf
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    Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 03-68.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:1679
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    1. Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-30, December.
    2. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Oligopolistic pricing with heterogeneous consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 243-268.
    3. Erik Lehmann, 2003. "Pricing Behavior on the WEB: Evidence from Online Travel Agencies," Empirica, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 379-396, December.
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    5. Ariel Pakes, 2002. "A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indices with an Application to PC's," NBER Working Papers 8715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Rajiv Lal & Miklos Sarvary, 1999. "When and How Is the Internet Likely to Decrease Price Competition?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(4), pages 485-503.
    7. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
    9. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    10. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
    11. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
    12. Baylis, Kathy & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2001. "Price Dispersion on the Internet: Good Firms and Bad Firms," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2t0770rn, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    13. Stefan W. Schmitz & Michael Latzer, 2002. "Competition in B2C eCommerce: Analytical Issues and Empirical Evidence," Industrial Organization 0211001, EconWPA.
    14. Clay, Karen, et al, 2002. "Retail Strategies on the Web: Price and Non-price Competition in the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 351-67, September.
    15. Morton, Fiona Scott & Zettelmeyer, Florian & Silva-Risso, Jorge, 2001. "Internet Car Retailing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 501-19, December.
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