APJIS Asia Pacific Journal of Information Systems

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The Journal for Information Professionals

Asia Pacific Journal of Information Systems (APJIS) is published by the Korea Society
of Management Information Systems (KMIS), which is the largest professional institute
in the field of information systems in Korea.

ISSN 2288-5404 (Print) / ISSN 2288-6818 (Online)

Editor : Sang-Yong Tom Lee

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Past Issue

Date December 2007
Vol. No. Vol. 17 No. 4
DOI
Page 113~132
Title Understanding Price Adjustments in E-Commerce
Author Dongwon Lee
Keyword E-Commerce, Price Adjustments, Price Rigidity, Strategic Pricing
Abstract Price rigidity involves prices that do not change with the regularity predicted by standard economic theory. It is of long-standing interest for firms, industries and the economy as a whole. However, due to the difficulty of measuring price rigidity and price adjustments directly, only a few studies have attempted to provide empirical evidence for explanatory theories from Economics and Marketing.This paper proposes and validates a research model to examine different theories of price rigidity and to predict what variables can explain the observed empirical regularities and variations in price adjustment patterns of Internet-based retailers. I specify and test a model using more than 3 million daily observations on 385 books, 118 DVDs and 154 CDs, sold by 22 Internet-based retailers that were collected over a 676-day period from March 2003 to February 2005. I obtained a number of interesting findings from the estimation of our logit model. First, quality seems to play a role-I find that both price levels as proxies for store quality, and information on the quality of a product consumers have, affect online price rigidity. Second, greater competition (i.e., less industry concentration) leads to less price rigidity (i.e., more price changes) on the Internet. I also find that Internet-based sellers more frequently change the prices of popular products, and the sellers with broader product coverage change prices less frequently, which seem due to economic forces faced by these Internet-based sellers. To the best of my knowledge, this research is the first to empirically assess price rigidity patterns for multiple industries in Internet-based retailing, and attempt to explain the variation in these patterns. I found that price changes are more likely to be driven by quality, competitive and economic considerations. These results speak to both the IS and economics literatures. To the IS literature these results suggest we take economic considerations into account in more sophisticated ways. The existence and variation in price rigidity argue that simplistic assumptions about frictionless and completely flexible digital prices do not capture the richness of pricing behavior on the Internet. The quality, competitive and economic forces identified in this model suggest promising directions for future theoretical and empirical work on their role in these technologically changing markets. To the economics literature these results offer new evidence on the sources of price rigidity, which can then be incorporated into the development of models of pricing at the firm, industry and even macro-economic level of analysis. It also suggests that there is much to be learned through interdisciplinary research between the IS, economics and related business disciplines.

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