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The design and efficiency of loyalty rewards

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  • Ramon Caminal

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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to reexamine the optimal design and efficiency of loyalty rewards in markets for final consumption goods. While the literature has emphasized the role of loyalty rewards as endogenous switching costs (which distort the efficient allocation of consumers), in this paper I analyze the ability of alternative designs to foster consumer participation and increase total surplus. First, the efficiency of loyalty rewards depend on their specific design. A commitment to the price of repeat purchases can involve substantial efficiency gains by reducing price-cost margins. However, discount policies imply higher future regular prices and are likely to reduce total surplus. Second, firms may prefer to set up inefficient rewards (discounts), especially in those circumstances where a commitment to the price of repeat purchases triggers Coasian dynamics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 789.09.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:789.09

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Keywords: Loyalty rewards; Coasian dynamics; Price commitment; Coupons;

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  1. Bulkley, George, 1992. "The role of loyalty discounts when consumers are uncertain of the value of repeat purchases," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 91-101, March.
  2. Yongmin Chen & Jason Pearcy, 2010. "Dynamic pricing: when to entice brand switching and when to reward consumer loyalty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 674-685.
  3. Byung-Do Kim & Mengze Shi & Kannan Srinivasan, 2001. "Reward Programs and Tacit Collusion," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(2), pages 99-120, June.
  4. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
  5. Caminal, Ramon & Claici, Adina, 2007. "Are loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes anti-competitive?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 657-674, August.
  6. Leonardo J. Basso & Matthew T. Clements & Thomas W. Ross, 2009. "Moral Hazard and Customer Loyalty Programs," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 101-23, February.
  7. Mara Lederman, 2008. "Are Frequent-Flyer Programs a Cause of the "Hub Premium"?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 35-66, 03.
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