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Price‐matching guarantees

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  • Sridhar Moorthy
  • Ralph A. Winter

Abstract

Are price-matching guarantees anticompetitive? This paper examines the incentives for price-matching guarantees in markets where information about prices is costly. Under some conditions the conventional explanation of price-matching announcements as facilitating collusion finds support, and is even strengthened. But our model provides an additional explanation for the practice. A price-matching guarantee may be a credible and easily understood means of communicating to uninformed consumers that a firm is low-priced. The credibility of the signal to uninformed consumers is assured by the behaviour of informed consumers. We contrast the testable implications of our model with those of the anticompetitive theories and discuss supportive evidence from an illustrative sample of retailers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 449-465

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:2:p:449-465

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References

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  1. Yuxin Chen & Chakravarthi Narasimhan & Z. John Zhang, 2001. "Consumer Heterogeneity and Competitive Price-Matching Guarantees," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 300-314, June.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
  3. Curtis Eaton, B. & Lipsey, Richard G., 1989. "Product differentiation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 723-768 Elsevier.
  4. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-50, September.
  5. Aaron S. Edlin and Eric R. Emch., 1997. "The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies," Economics Working Papers 97-257, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Katz, Michael L., 1989. "Vertical contractual relations," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 655-721 Elsevier.
  7. Zhiqi Chen, 1995. "How Low Is a Guaranteed-Lowest-Price?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 683-701, August.
  8. Jacquemin, Alexis & Slade, Margaret E., 1989. "Cartels, collusion, and horizontal merger," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 415-473 Elsevier.
  9. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  10. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "Hassle Costs: The Achilles' Heel of Price-Matching Guarantees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 489-521, December.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Maarten Janssen & Alexei Parakhonyak, 2011. "Price Mathing Guarantees and Consumer Search," HSE Working papers WP BRP 03/EC/2011, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  3. Datta, Shakun & Offenberg, Jennifer, 2003. "An Experimental Examination of Competitor-Based Price Matching Guarantees," MPRA Paper 575, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Oct 2006.
  4. Il-Horn Hann & Kai-Lung Hui & Sang-Yong Tom Lee & Ivan P.L. Png, 2005. "Sales and Promotions: A More General Model," Industrial Organization 0508014, EconWPA.

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