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Hassle Costs, Price-Matching Guarantees and Price Competition: An Experiment

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  • Subhasish Dugar

    ()

  • Todd Sorensen

Abstract

We experimentally investigate whether the collusion-facilitating nature of price-matching guarantees survives the introduction of hassle costs incurred by buyers to enforce these guarantees. The presence of an arbitrarily small number of positive hassle costs buyers may completely undermine incentives for collusion. To evaluate this possibility, we develop four one-shot price competition models that test the hassle cost argument by varying proportions of positive and zero hassle cost buyers present in the market. Although the theory predicts that the competitive price should emerge in equilibrium in all four models, we experimentally find significant price differences. Copyright Springer 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 28 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
Pages: 359-378

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Handle: RePEc:kap:revind:v:28:y:2006:i:4:p:359-378

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100336

Related research

Keywords: Experiment; hassle costs; price-matching guarantees; L11; L12; C91;

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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. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
  3. 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.
  4. Png, I P L & Hirshleifer, D, 1987. "Price Discrimination through Offers to Match Price," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(3), pages 365-83, July.
  5. Arbatskaya, Maria & Hviid, Morten & Shaffer, Greg, 2004. "On the Incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 307-32, April.
  6. Zhiqi Chen, 1993. "How Low is a Garanteed-Lowest-Price?," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 93-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  7. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D., 1992. "How to Sell a Pickup Truck; "Beat-or-Pay" Advertisements as Facilitating Devices"," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1032, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  8. Aaron S. Edlin & Eric R. Emch, 1998. "The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies," Law and Economics 9803001, EconWPA, revised 26 May 1998.
  9. Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price competition and market concentration: An experimental study," Discussion Paper 1998-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Arbatskaya, Maria, 2001. "Can low-price guarantees deter entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1387-1406, November.
  11. Belton, Terrence M., 1987. "A model of duopoly and meeting or beating competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 399-417.
  12. Edlin, Aaron S. & Emch, Eric R., 1999. "The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt43b7w47c, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  13. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
  14. David Dickinson & Ronald Oaxaca, 2005. "The Equivalence of Panel Data Estimators under Orthogonal Experimental Design," Working Papers 05-07, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  15. Cary A. Deck & Bart J. Wilson, 2003. "Automated Pricing Rules in Electronic Posted Offer Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 208-223, April.
  16. Corts, Kenneth S., 1997. "On the competitive effects of price-matching policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 283-299, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Norovsambuu Tumennasan, 2011. "Quantity Precommitment and Price Matching," Economics Working Papers 2011-13, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  2. José Apesteguía & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2003. "Blowing the Whistle," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0303, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, revised 2003.
  3. 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.
  4. Norovsambuu Tumennasan & Mongoljin Batsaikhan, 2013. "Price-Matching leads to the Cournot Outcome," Economics Working Papers 2013-12, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  5. 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.

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