Competition and Product Quality in the Supermarket Industry
This paper analyzes the effect of competition on a supermarket firm’s incentive to provide product quality. In the supermarket industry, product availability is an important measure of quality. Using U.S. consumer price index microdata to track inventory shortfalls, I find that stores facing more intense competition have fewer shortfalls. Competition from Wal-Mart – the most significant shock to industry market structure in half a century – decreases shortfalls by about a third. The risk of customers switching stores appears to provide strong incentives for investments in product quality.
. 2011. Competition and Product Quality in the Supermarket Industry. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 126(3): 1539-1591.