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Abstract

This study explores the growth in demand for fast food. A distinguishing characteristic of fast food is its convenience; in today's pervasive marketplace, consumers need not travel far to find a fast food outlet. This greater availability translates into a decrease in the full price of obtaining a meal, which contributes to greater consumption. Market-level data are used to estimate demand equations in two time periods, incorporating changes in availability as well as prices, income, and various demographic characteristics. Our findings show that greater availability has led to increased consumption. Failure to account for these types of marketplace changes could lead to incorrect inferences regarding the factors responsible for the industry growth.

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