DIY International Arbitrage


The authors of a forthcoming Economics Letters article (pdf) gathered data from Amazon’s American, British, and Canadian web sites to demonstrate international price discrimination. According to the authors, Americans pay significantly more for textbooks on average. They offer a number of demand-side hypotheses but do not test them.

I’ve found a number of cases where American customers can save money by purchasing their textbooks from and paying for international shipping (£6.98) rather than using Check it out:

Title Authors .com $ diff % diff
Mathematics for Economists Simon & Blume 126.74 84.69 42.05 33
Advanced Macroeconomics Romer 56.25 83.56 -27.31 -49
Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and
Panel Data
Wooldridge 80 89.98 -9.98 -12
Economics for Business Sloman 95 73.39 21.61 23
Mathematics for Economics and Business Jacques 115 75.84 39.16 34
Options, Futures and Other Derivatives Hull 158.99 88.45 70.54 44
Statistics for Business and Economics Newbold et al. 153.33 91.84 61.49 40
Introductory Econometrics for Finance Brooks 35.5 61.17 -25.67 -72
Statistics for Economics, Accounting and
Business Studies
Barrow 100 75.84 24.16 24
Microeconomics: Principles and Analysis Cowell 78.35 79.32 -0.97 -1

Prices reported in USD with an exchange rate of 1.88 USD per GBP.


4 Responses to “DIY International Arbitrage”

  1. Homo Homini Lupus Says:

     I was reading Trade Diversion and found this information.  Beware, you may find out that everything you know about buying cheap stuff in the Internet may be wrong.
    I use to buy at least once or twice a month on

  2. Milan Says:

    Watch out for the duty. I had to pay more duty on a book I had sent from to Canada than the original price of the volume. (It was not yet released in North America)

  3. New Economist Says:

    Amazon’s US textbook ripoff?

    Are US students being ripped off by Jonathan Dingel at Trade Diversion blog points to a forthcoming paper by Yale’s Christos Cabolis and colleagues, A Textbook Example of International Price Discrimination (PDF). The paper finds that althou…

  4. Rob Says:

    This is also the case with research more generally. I have found that a lot of academic papers are free for people outside the OECD (or something) but people from more developed countries face a charge. I guess this is price discrimination and helps to allow the dissemination of research.

Comments are closed.