NBER Working Papers by Bart Bronnenberg

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Working Papers

September 2016The Formation of Consumer Brand Preferences
with Jean-Pierre H. Dubé: w22691
Brands and brand capital have long been theorized to play an important role in the formation of the industrial market structure of consumer goods industries. We summarize several striking empirical regularities in the concentration, magnitude and persistence of brand market shares in consumer goods categories. We then survey the theoretical and empirical literatures on the formation of brand preferences and how brand preferences contribute to our understanding of these empirical regularities. We also review the literature on how brand capital creates strategic advantages to firms that own established brands.
July 2014Do Pharmacists Buy Bayer? Informed Shoppers and the Brand Premium
with Jean-Pierre Dubé, Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro: w20295
We estimate the effect of information and expertise on consumers’ willingness to pay for national brands in physically homogeneous product categories. In a detailed case study of headache remedies we find that more informed or expert consumers are less likely to pay extra to buy national brands, with pharmacists choosing them over store brands only 9 percent of the time, compared to 26 percent of the time for the average consumer. In a similar case study of pantry staples such as salt and sugar, we show that chefs devote 12 percentage points less of their purchases to national brands than demographically similar non-chefs. We extend our analysis to cover 50 retail health categories and 241 food and drink categories. The results suggest that misinformation and related consumer mistakes expl...

Published: Bart J. Bronnenberg & Jean-Pierre Dubé & Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2015. "Do Pharmacists Buy Bayer? Informed Shoppers and the Brand Premium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1669-1726. citation courtesy of

August 2010The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration
with Jean-Pierre H. Dube, Matthew Gentzkow: w16267
We study the long-run evolution of brand preferences, using new data on consumers' life histories and purchases of consumer packaged goods. Variation in where consumers have lived in the past allows us to isolate the causal effect of past experiences on current purchases, holding constant contemporaneous supply-side factors such as availability, prices, and advertising. Heterogeneity in brand preferences explains 40 percent of geographic variation in market shares. These preferences develop endogenously as a function of consumers' life histories and are highly persistent once formed, with experiences 50 years in the past still exerting a significant effect on current consumption. Counterfactuals suggest that brand preferences create large entry barriers and durable advantages for incumbent...

Published: Bronnenberg, Bart J., Jean-Pierre H. Dubé, and Matthew Gentzkow. 2012. "The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration." American Economic Review, 102(6): 2472-2508. citation courtesy of

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