We study the effect of price variations over time and across space on search intensity and search time by consumers in retail markets for diesel in France. The main contribution of the paper is that existing work in industrial organisation in this area has already studied the effect of such variability on the first measure of search but not on the second one. Using novel data from daily consultation measures and price information from a government-run website, we find that price dispersion across space increases search activity and the amount of time allocated to search. Furthermore, while contemporaneous price changes do not appear to influence the number of visits and time per visit to the website, several coefficients on past price changes are positive and statistically different from zero. Our results thus suggest that price dispersion and price variability play a role in inducing search by current and potential customers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistics and Probability
- Social Sciences(all)
- Economics and Econometrics