Imperfect information: The persistence of price dispersion on the web

  • Joan Lindsey-Mullikin
  • Dhruv Grewal


In this article, the authors empirically test the notion that as the mean price of durables increases, the degree of dispersion also increases. This effect holds even when they specifically consider variables such as the number of competitors and store quality. The authors suggest that an individual-level perceptual mechanism, the psychophysics of price, at the aggregate level helps explain continued price dispersion on the Web. These results are contrary to predictions from standard economic theory, which suggest that readily available price information will result in increased price competition and lower price dispersion. Two studies consistently demonstrate that as the mean price of an item increases, price dispersion also increases. These results provide evidence that, contrary to general economic expectations, the Internet has not commoditized products. Retailers and managers need to pay attention to Internet information but not be fearful of its impact on their pricing strategies.


pricing retailing Internet price dispersion market price variation 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Lindsey-Mullikin
    • 1
  • Dhruv Grewal
    • 1
  1. 1.Babson CollegeBabson ParkUSA

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