The full cost of shopping includes the cost of the shopper's time.When that cost increases, stores have incentives to respond in waysthat economize on shopper time. One response is to substitute in-storelabor for shopper time. Pooled cross-sectional tests using data fromsuburban and city food stores show that various labor intensitymeasures are higher where the opportunity cost of shopper time ishigher. We distinguish between income and cost of time effects byshowing that store labor intensity depends on the composition ofincome between male and female members of the family, and notonly on the level of family income. We obtain similar results for twoother ways that food stores can economize on shopper time – locatingcloser to the customer and offering more check out stations withina store. We also use a unique shopping time survey to showthat shoppers from higher income households make fewer visitsto food stores, spend less time per visit in the check out line andare more likely to shop at stores with longer hours.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2004
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