Transaction costs as a source of consumer stockpiling

2019-05-03T10:15:12Z (GMT) by Luke Garrod Ruochen Li Chris M. Wilson
Consumers often stockpile goods to store for future consumption. The existing theoretical literature has focussed on a price-based explanation where stockpiling arises due to temporary price reductions. In contrast, this paper explores a transaction-cost-based explanation where consumers stockpile to avoid the need to incur future transaction costs. It shows how transaction costs lead to positive consumer stockpiling in an oligopoly equilibrium even when future prices are expected to fall. Relative to a no-stockpiling benchmark, such stockpiling lowers profits, but improves consumer and total welfare. Our results extend to the case of quantity discounts where stockpiling consumers pay relatively lower per-unit prices than non-stockpiling consumers, when purchasing multi-unit bundles.