Do Pharmacists Buy Bayer? Informed Shoppers and the Brand Premium

54 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2014

See all articles by Bart J. Bronnenberg

Bart J. Bronnenberg

Tilburg University, CentER

Jean-Pierre Dubé

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Gentzkow

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse M. Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

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 explain a sizable share of the brand premium for health products, and a much smaller share for most food and drink products. We tie our estimates together using a stylized model of demand and pricing.

Suggested Citation

Bronnenberg, Bart J. and Dube, Jean-Pierre H. and Gentzkow, Matthew Aaron and Shapiro, Jesse M., Do Pharmacists Buy Bayer? Informed Shoppers and the Brand Premium (July 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20295. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2471188

Bart J. Bronnenberg (Contact Author)

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5037 AB
Netherlands
+31 13 466 8939 (Phone)
+31 13 466 8354 (Fax)

Jean-Pierre H. Dube

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gsb.uchicago.edu/fac/jean-pierre.dube

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Matthew Aaron Gentzkow

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jesse M. Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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