Helena Perrone

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Mannheim and CEPR Research Affiliate.

Research Interests

  • Empirical Industrial Economics

  • Quantitative Marketing

  • Applied Microeconomics

  • Competition Policy


University of Mannheim Department of Economics

L7, 3-5 (3rd floor, Office 3-13) 68131 Mannheim (Germany)

tel: +49 621 181-1838

Contact Information



Published Papers

Demand for nondurable goods: a shortcut to long-run demand elasticities, Rand Journal of Economics, 2017, 48: 856-873.

Consumers' quality choice during demand peaks, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2016, 44: 154-162.

Gender Bias in Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from an Unintentional Experiment, joint with Luis B. Braido and Pedro Olinto, Review of Economics and Statistics 2012, 94: 552-565

Working Papers

Price dispersion and informational frictions: evidence from supermarket purchases (with Pierre Dubois) revise and resubmit - American Economic Journal - Microeconomics

Traditional demand models assume that consumers are perfectly informed about product characteristics, including price. However, this assumption may be too strong. Unannounced sales are a common supermarket practice. As we show, retailers frequently change position in the price rankings, thus making it unlikely that consumers are aware of all deals offered in each period. Further empirical evidence on consumer behavior is also consistent with a model with price information frictions. We develop such a model for horizontally differentiated products and structurally estimate the search cost distribution. The results show that in equilibrium, consumers observe a very limited number of prices before making a purchase decision, which implies that imperfect information is indeed important and that local market power is potentially high. We also show that a full information demand model yields severely biased price elasticities.

Consumers' Costly Responses to Product-Harm Crises (joint with Rosa Ferrer) revise and resubmit - Management Science new version coming soon

Using an ideal setting from a major food safety crisis, we estimate a full demand model for the unsafe product and its substitutes and recover consumers' preference parameters. Counterfactual exercises quantify the relevance of different mechanisms --changes in safety perceptions, idiosyncratic tastes, nutritional characteristics, and prices-- driving consumers' response. We find that consumers' reaction is limited by their taste for the product and its nutritional characteristics. Due to the costs associated with switching away from the affected product, the decline in demand following a product-harm crisis tends to understate the true weight of such events in consumers' utility. Indeed, we find that a large fraction of consumers are unresponsive to the crisis even when they significantly downgrade their product safety perception. For an accurate assessment of the crisis, managerial strategies should therefore account for how different demand drivers bind consumers' substitution patterns.

Gender Differences in Academic Performance: The Role of Negative Marking in Multiple-Choice Exams (joint with Patricia Funk)

We investigate whether penalizing wrong answers on multiple-choice tests (``negative marking'') makes females relatively worse off compared to males (the comparison being no penalties for wrong answers). With a cohort of more than 500 undergraduate students at a major Spanish university, we conducted a field experiment in the Microeconomics course. We created a final exam, which was composed of two parts: one with penalties for wrong answers and one without. Students were randomly allocated to different exam permutations, which differed in the questions that carried penalties for wrong answers. We find that the penalties did not harm female students. Females performed better than males on both parts of the exam and did so to a greater extent on the part with penalties. Whereas risk aversion did not affect overall scores (despite affecting answering behavior), ability did. High-ability students performed relatively better with negative marking, and these were more likely to be women.

Work in progress

The Competitive Effects of Subprime Credit for Consumption

Using data from Brazil, I study the effect of entry of large subprime lenders in markets where the population was previously credit constrained on: (i) consumers’ purchase patterns; (ii) consumers’ welfare measures; and (iii) the local competitive environment.

The market for cigarettes and demand estimation when there are stockouts

Using Spanish cigarette vending machine, we develop a demand model that allows for stockouts, a common feature in many markets and that, if ignored, could lead to biased price elasticity measure if ignored. The modell uses stockouts as an additional source of variation for identification, which is especially relevant for estimation of demand for products which experience infrequent price changes. We use data on spanish cigarette vending machines, which includes not only information on stockouts but also the number of lost sales per product due to a stockouts event. We estimate the preference parameters of consumers' and use them to derive health policy implications.