Income Fluctuations and Firm Choice
44 Pages Posted:
Date Written: December 19, 2019
How households shift spending across firms in response to income fluctuations is an important source of risk to individual firms. Using transaction-level data, we study how households interact with the universe of retailers following changes in income. We find that increases in income, both within and across households, result in substitution towards retailers in a category that are higher quality, smaller, more profitable, and have higher labor intensity, R&D intensity, and equity betas. While not all shifts are economically large, they do not average out across retailers. Thus, retailer choice has implications for key financial and macroeconomic outcomes such as aggregate profitability and labor demand.
Keywords: choice, retailer substitution, customer base, transactional data
JEL Classification: D10, D22, L11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation