Empirical analysis of dynamics in demand and pricing
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This doctoral dissertation provides a framework for analyzing consumer's demand and firm's pricing strategy under a dynamic setting. The results bring new methods and empirical evidence to the existing literature within this realm. The first chapter evaluates retailers' choice of service even when service is not observed. Retailer optimization over service alters manufacturers' price setting and thus provides the required identification. Using new data containing wholesale prices from China's second largest wireless carrier, I construct and estimate a dynamic structural model including both demand and supply. I find that service has a significantly positive effect on expanding market demand; however, its impact subsides over time. I argue that this pattern provides a potential explanation for Apple's initial exclusive contract with China Unicom and subsequent contract arrangements. The second chapter is a joint work with Gautam Gowrisankaran and Marc Rysman. We develop and implement a new method for calculating price-cost margins in a durable goods environment. We study the industry of digital camcorders and analyze how margins differ across products, firms and time. We are particularly interested in the extent to which falling marginal costs explain falling prices. Using demand estimates and our new method, we generate non-parametric distributions of marginal costs that each firm expects for each product. We show that marginal cost falls dramatically by an average of $300 and that the price-cost margin is strongly correlated with quality. We also find that the market share is an important driver for the dynamic effects in our model. The last chapter investigates firm's price adjustment processes, with a particular focus on the micro-level determinants of the frequency of price changes. Using the same data as in the first chapter, I construct and estimate a model of the frequency of price adjustments within products. I find that the price of a high quality product tends to adjust more often. Older products are more likely to change price than newer ones. Also, firms are more responsive to seasonal effects than to market competition.
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