Price Discrimination within and across EMU Markets: Evidence from French Exporters
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We study the cross-sectional dispersion of prices paid by EMU importers for French products. We document a significant level of dispersion in unit values both within product categories across exporters, and within exporters across buyers. This latter source of price discrepancies, which we call price discrimination, reflects the ability of exporters to sell similar or differentiated varieties of a given product at different prices to different buyers. Price discrimination (i) is substantial within the EU, within the euro area, and within EMU countries; (ii) has not decreased over the last two decades; (iii) is more prevalent among the largest firms and for more differentiated products; (iv) is lower among retailers and wholesalers; (v) is also observed within almost perfectly homogenous product categories, which suggests that a non-negligible share of price discrimination is partly triggered by heterogeneous markups rather than quality or composition effects. We then estimate a rich statistical decomposition of the variance of prices to shed light on exporters' pricing strategies.