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The relationship between accessibility and price – The case of Swedish food stores

Anders Bondemark

Journal of Transport Geography, 2020, vol. 82, issue C

Abstract: Food accessibility has been an important issue for as long as there has been human civilisation. Today, food, at least in the wealthier parts of the world, is accessible to most people. However, there are concerns regarding the market power of major retailers and the availability of affordable food among certain population groups. In this paper, I investigate how well accessibility, the ease with which individuals can reach various destinations, explains food prices in Swedish food stores. I have done this by combining price information on a large number of Swedish food stores from 2010 to 2014 with a state-of-the-art accessibility measure from the Swedish national transport model. I have found a quadratic relationship between accessibility and price, in which prices in the least and most accessible parts of Sweden are 2–3 per cent higher than in the least expensive parts, which are towns and villages around larger cities. The relationship remains significant when adding controls and accessibility is better at explaining price than measures of market structure previously used in the literature.

Keywords: Food prices; Accessibility; Search; Local monopolies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 I32 L11 Q18 R40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102615

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