Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Why Shops Close Again: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Deregulation of Shopping Hours

Volume: 46
Number: 1
Pages: 51 - 72
Month: January
ISSN-Print: 0014-2921
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2002
Keywords: Shopping hours; Deregulation; Coordination; Equilibrium selection
Abstract: This paper introduces a new perspective on the deregulation of shopping hours based on ideas from evolutionary game theory. We study a retail economy where shopping hours have been deregulated recently. It is argued that first, the deregulation leads to a coordination problem between store owners and customers, and second, the ‘solution’ to this problem depends on the specific cost structure of stores and the preferences of customers. In particular, it may happen that, even if extended shopping hours are Pareto efficient, stores and customers do not succeed in coordinating on this equilibrium. The analysis explains the observation in Germany, where shopping hours have been deregulated recently, that store owners tend to go back to the former shopping hours again. Moreover, it emphasizes the important role of advertisement campaigns as a signalling device.