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Minimum Distance Estimation of Search Costs using Price Distribution

Sanches, F., Silva Junior, D. & Srisuma, S. (2017). Minimum Distance Estimation of Search Costs using Price Distribution. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 36(4), pp. 658-671. doi: 10.1080/07350015.2016.1247003


Hong and Shum (2006) show equilibrium restrictions in a search model can be used to identify quantiles of the search cost distribution from observed prices alone. These quantiles can be difficult to estimate in practice. This paper uses a minimum distance approach to estimate them that is easy to compute. A version of our estimator is a solution to a nonlinear least squares problem that can be straightforwardly programmed on softwares such as STATA. We show our estimator is consistent and has an asymptotic normal distribution. Its distribution can be consistently estimated by a bootstrap. Our estimator can be used to estimate the cost distribution nonparametrically on a larger support when prices from heterogeneous markets are available. We propose a two-step sieve estimator for that case. The first step estimates quantiles from each market. They are used in the second step as generated variables to perform nonparametric sieve estimation. We derive the uniform rate of convergence of the sieve estimator that can be used to quantify the errors incurred from interpolating data across markets. To illustrate we use online bookmaking odds for English football leagues' matches (as prices) and find evidence that suggests search costs for consumers have fallen following a change in the British law that allows gambling operators to advertise more widely.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published online by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Business and Economic Statistics on 25 October 2016, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Bootstrap, Generated Variables, M-Estimation, Search Cost, Sieve Estimation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
SWORD Depositor:
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