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CEP discussion paper

Consumer Search: Evidence from Path-tracking Data


We estimate the effect of consumer search on the price of the purchased product in a physical store environment. We implement the analysis using a unique data set obtained from radio frequency identification tags, which are attached to supermarket shopping carts. This technology allows us to record consumers' purchases as well as the time they spent in front of the shelf when contemplating which product to buy, giving us a direct measure of search effort. Controlling for a host of confounding factors, we estimate that an additional minute spent searching lowers price paid by $2.10 which represents 8 percent of average trip-level expenditure.


Fabio Pinna and Stephan Seiler

8 September 2014     Paper Number CEPDP1296

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.