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Are loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes anti-competitive?

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  • Caminal, Ramón
  • Claici, Adina

Abstract

Many economists and policy analysts seem to believe that loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes, like frequent flyer programs, tend to reinforce firms' market power and hence are detrimental to consumer welfare. The existing academic literature has supported this view to some extent. In contrast, we argue that these programs are business stealing devices that enhance competition, in the sense of generating lower average transaction prices and higher consumer surplus. This result is robust to alternative specifications of the firms' commitment power and demand structures, and is derived in a theoretical model whose main predictions are compatible with the sparse empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5353.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5353

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Keywords: coupons; price commitment; repeat purchases; switching costs;

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References

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  1. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  2. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King, 2006. "PAYING FOR LOYALTY: PRODUCT BUNDLING IN OLIGOPOLY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 43-62, 03.
  3. 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.
  4. Yongmin Chen & Michael H. Riordan, 2007. "Vertical integration, exclusive dealing, and expost cartelization," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 1-21, 03.
  5. Ramón Caminal & Adina Claici, 2005. "Are loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes anti-competitive?," Working Papers 228, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Robert D. Cairns & John W. Galbraith, 1990. "Artificial Compatibility, Barriers to Entry, and Frequent-Flyer Programs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(4), pages 807-16, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Byung-Do Kim & Mengze Shi & Kannan Srinivasan, 2001. "Reward Programs and Tacit Collusion," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(2), pages 99-120, June.
  9. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1871, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. To, Theodore, 1996. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs: An Overlapping Generations Formulation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 81-87, March.
  11. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2006. "Dynamic Competition with Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 37-66, 03.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Carlo Reggiani, . "Optimal Differentiation and Spatial Competition: The Spokes Model with Product Delivery," Discussion Papers 09/13, Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Greenlee, Patrick & Reitman, David & Sibley, David S., 2008. "An antitrust analysis of bundled loyalty discounts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1132-1152, September.
  4. Emilie Dargaud & Carlo Reggiani, 2012. "On the Price Effects of Horizontal Mergers : A Theoretical Interpretation," Working Papers 1222, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  5. Ramon Caminal, 2009. "The design and efficiency of loyalty rewards," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 789.09, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  6. Ramon Caminal, 2009. "The design and efficiency of loyalty rewards," Working Papers 408, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Zuzana Brokesova & Cary Deck & Jana Peliova, 2014. "Experimenting with Behavior Based Pricing," Working Papers 14-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:12:y:2008:i:26:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Emilie Dargaud & Carlo Reggiani, . "Horizontal Mergers in the Spokes Model," Discussion Papers 09/12, Department of Economics, University of York.

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