“The Effects of the Internet and Mobile Search Technologies on Retail Markets: Evidence from the Korean Gasoline Market” (Job Market Paper)
Abstract: Since 2008, a Korean government website has posted daily prices of all gasoline stations. Combined with the rapid increase of smartphone and mobile technologies, this price information service may have changed the consumer search environment significantly. This paper investigates the effects of these technological advances on the retail gasoline market, using daily price data, quantity data for select stations obtained from a credit card provider, and regional smartphone penetration rates. In daily price data for four regions from January 2010 to June 2012, price dispersion among gasoline stations and markup increase slightly when the smartphone penetration rate increases, even while additional descriptive evidence suggests that demand is becoming more price-sensitive. Structural estimation of a two-type consumer search model finds that the proportion of highly informed consumers increases as the smartphone penetration rate increases. A counterfactual analysis confirms that observed price changes are consistent with theoretical models of pricing, given the structurally estimated parameters.
Research in Progress
“Mental Accounting and Consumer Choices in the Korean Retail Gasoline Market”
Abstract: This paper presents a new approach to measure consumer choices, using a detailed transaction-level gasoline sales dataset for select stations in Korea. There are two unique market properties: first, almost all gasoline stations in Korea offer only full service; second, gas pumps can be set to fuel until pre-set integer dollar amounts. From January 2010 to December 2012, about 30% of regular gasoline consumers chose to simply fill up, while the remaining 70% of consumers spent pre-selected dollar amounts. Retail gasoline price changes had little effect on this tendency. I develop a discrete-choice utility model to explain the observed consumer behavior and discuss optimal pricing policies.
“Does Coeducation Reduce the Gender Gap? Evidence from Korean Secondary Schools”
Abstract: In March 1997, the Korean government introduced a new policy to increase the proportion of co-ed schools. A dataset of Korean SAT scores for the entire pool of exam takers from 1999 to 2009 is used to examine the impact of the proportion of exam takers from co-ed high schools on the gender gaps for the whole score distribution, not only for mean or median scores. Focusing on two main subjects (Korean and mathematics), this research investigates the differences between the scores of male students and those of female students at 25%, 50%, 75%, 90% percentile levels. Preliminary results show that, as the number of exam takers attending co-ed high schools increases, so do the gender gaps at all percentile levels, and this tendency is significant, especially for mathematics.
“Ability Grouping and Student Achievement: Effects of the Equalization Policy in Korea”
Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of ability grouping on the academic performance of high school graduating students in Korea. About half of the regions in Korea adopted the equalization policy (EP), which means that high school students are randomly assigned. For the other non-EP regions, students are sorted among schools based on ability levels. I exploit that several regions adopted the EP during 2000-2008 as a result of the exogenous policy shifts, and utilize a difference-in-differences strategy. Studying a dataset of Korean SAT scores for the entire pool of exam takers from 1999 to 2009, I find that after the EP, students performed worse, especially those in high percentiles. In addition, there was an increasing trend in the achievement levels in the treatment regions, but after the introduction of the EP, this trend vanished.