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Hassle Costs: The Achilles' Heel of Price-Matching Guarantees

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  • Morten Hviid
  • Greg Shaffer

Abstract

We show that price-matching guarantees can facilitate monopoly pricing only if firms automatically match prices. If consumers must instead request refunds (thereby incurring hassle costs), we find that any increase in equilibrium prices due to firms' price-matching policies will be small; often, no price increase can be supported. In symmetric markets price-matching guarantees cannot support any rise in prices, even if hassle costs are arbitrarily small In asymmetric markets, higher prices can be supported, but the prices fall well short of maximizing joint profits. Our model can explain why some firms adopt price-matching guarantees while others do not. Copyright (c) 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

Volume (Year): 8 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 489-521

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:8:y:1999:i:4:p:489-521

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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/

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Cited by:
  1. Sridhar Moorthy & Ralph A. Winter, 2006. "Price‐matching guarantees," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 449-465, 06.
  2. Pio Baake & Ulrich Schwalbe, 2013. "Price Guarantees, Consumer Search, and Hassle Costs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1335, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Schwalbe, Ulrich & Baake, Pio, 2013. "Price Guarantees, Consumer Search, and Hassle Costs," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80023, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Ireland, Norman J, 2002. "Firms' Strategies For Reducing The Effectiveness Of Consumer Price Search," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 627, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Parakhonyak, Alexei, 2013. "Price matching guarantees and consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-11.
  6. Enrique Fatás & Juan A. Mañez, 2004. "Are Low-Price Compromises Collusion Guarantees? An Experimental Test of Price Matching Policies," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/33, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  7. Mago, Shakun Datta & Pate, Jennifer G., 2009. "An experimental examination of competitor-based price matching guarantees," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 342-360, May.
  8. Koh, Dong-Hee & Moon, Junyean & Schellhase, Ralf, 2012. "Price-matching guarantees: Influences on pricing strategy in a market with asymmetric firms," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(11), pages 1551-1557.
  9. Tumennasan, Norovsambuu, 2013. "Quantity precommitment and price-matching," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 375-388.
  10. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 2012. "Optimal low-price guarantees with anchoring," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 393-417, December.
  11. Maria Arbatskaya, 2005. "Buy Now, Search Later: A Model of Low-Price Guarantees with Post-Purchase Search," Emory Economics 0520, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  12. Enrique Fatas & Juan Mañez, 2007. "Are low-price promises collusion guarantees? An experimental test of price matching policies," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 59-77, March.
  13. Subhasish Dugar & Todd Sorensen, 2006. "Hassle Costs, Price-Matching Guarantees and Price Competition: An Experiment," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 359-378, June.
  14. Subhasish Dugar, 2007. "Price-Matching Guarantees and Equilibrium Selection in a Homogenous Product Market: An Experimental Study," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 107-119, March.
  15. Wen Mao, 2005. "Price-matching policy with imperfect information," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(6), pages 367-372.
  16. Arcan Nalca & Tamer Boyaci & Saibal Ray, 2010. "Competitive price-matching guarantees under imperfect store availability," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 275-300, September.
  17. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 2003. "Chain-Store Pricing For Strategic Accommodation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 677, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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