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The Outputs of retail activities: concepts, measurement and evidence

Author: Gautschi, David A. ; Betancourt, Roger R.INSEAD Area: Marketing Series: Working Paper ; 90/75/MKT Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 1990.Language: EnglishDescription: 36 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: In this paper a new economic framework for the empirical analysis of retail margins is developed, which departs from the definition of profits and incorporates recent theoretical developments formalising the role of distribution services as outputs of retail activities. Since the theory implies nonlinear functional form, nonlinear least squares is the main estimation method. The main results are: measures of outputs of retail activities identified in the data perform as important and robust determinants of retail margins; variables that capture oligopolistic features of market structure play a limited or no role in determining retail margins; the hypothesis of quantity setting behaviour is categorically rejected by the data; retail firms will evolve to provide lower accessibility of location for the typical consumer in terms of distance but they will provide him or her with broader assortments and more information. The data base is information on 49 retail sectors from the 1982 US Census of Retail Trade
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In this paper a new economic framework for the empirical analysis of retail margins is developed, which departs from the definition of profits and incorporates recent theoretical developments formalising the role of distribution services as outputs of retail activities. Since the theory implies nonlinear functional form, nonlinear least squares is the main estimation method. The main results are: measures of outputs of retail activities identified in the data perform as important and robust determinants of retail margins; variables that capture oligopolistic features of market structure play a limited or no role in determining retail margins; the hypothesis of quantity setting behaviour is categorically rejected by the data; retail firms will evolve to provide lower accessibility of location for the typical consumer in terms of distance but they will provide him or her with broader assortments and more information. The data base is information on 49 retail sectors from the 1982 US Census of Retail Trade

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