NBER

Peter W. Newberry

Department of Economics, Penn State University
510 Kern Graduate Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Georgia

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2017Economies of Density in E-Commerce: A Study of Amazon’s Fulfillment Center Network
with Jean-François Houde, Katja Seim: w23361
We examine the economies of density associated with the expansion of Amazon’s distribution network from 2006 to 2018. We demonstrate that, in placing a fulfillment center in a new state, Amazon faces a trade-off between the revenue implications of exposing local customers to sales tax on their purchases and the cost savings from reducing the shipping distance to those customers. Using detailed data on online transactions, we estimate a model of demand for retail goods and show that consumers’ online shopping is sensitive to sales taxes. We then use the demand estimates and the spatial distribution of consumers relative to Amazon’s fulfillment centers to predict revenues and shipping distances under the observed fulfillment center roll-out and under counterfactual roll-outs over this time p...

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