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D’Haultfoeuille, Xavier; Durrmeyer, Isis; Février, Philippe (4. September 2014): Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium with Unobserved Price Discrimination. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 477




This paper deals with the estimation of structural models of demand and supply with incomplete information on prices. When the seller is able to price discriminate, or the buyer to bargain, individuals pay different prices that are usually not collected in the data. This paper explores a method to estimate the supply and demand models jointly when only posted prices are observed. We consider that heterogenous transaction prices occur due to price discrimination by firms on observable characteristics of consumers. Within this framework, the identification is secured by (i) supposing that at least one group of individuals does pay the posted prices and (ii) assuming that the marginal costs of producing and selling the goods does not depend on the characteristics of the buyers. This methodology is applied to estimate the demand in the new automobile market in France. Results suggest that discounting arising from price discrimination is important. The average discount is estimated to be 5.2%, with large variation according to the buyers’ characteristics. Our results are in line with discounts generally observed in European and American automobile markets.