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A Bayesian approach to aggregation in demand systems: smoothing with perfect substitution priors

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Demand analysis requires aggregation of commodities. Some are imposed at the data collection level, leaving some for the estimation level. When data are collected, the implicit assumption underlying the aggregation is perfect substitutability: one gallon of gasoline is viewed by consumers as equivalent to another gallon; hence, the two are added together. While such aggregation can be carried out further by the data analyst, it is difficult to incorporate perfect substitutability into the estimation of direct demand systems. Perfect substitution in that context implies discontinuous demand functions, which are not nested within standard empirical demand systems. Perfect substitution is much more easily handled in a system of inverse demands, though an empirical method to impose perfect substitutability in an inverse demand system has not previously appeared in the literature. In this article, we develop such a method, which allows perfect substitutability to be imposed as a prior restriction. We use Leamer’s information contract curve as a tool to flexibly impose the substitution restriction and to investigate consistency between the data and prior. We illustrate the method with an application to inverse demands for fish in Korea.
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Keywords: D12; Q22; information contract curve; inverse demands; marginal values; substitutability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: California State University at Fresno, Fresno, CA, USA 2: North Carolina State University, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Raleigh, NC, USA

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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