The economics of predation: What drives pricing when there is learning-by-doing?
AbstractPredatory pricing--a deliberate strategy of pricing aggressively in order to eliminate competitors--is one of the more contentious areas of antitrust policy and its existence and efficacy are widely debated. The purpose of this paper is to formally characterize predatory pricing in a modern industry dynamics framework. We endogenize competitive advantage and industry structure through learning-by-doing. We first show that predation-like behavior arises routinely in our model. Equilibria involving predation-like behavior typically coexist with equilibria involving much less aggressive pricing. To disentangle predatory pricing from mere competition for efficiency on a learning curve we next decompose the equilibrium pricing condition. Our decomposition provides us with a coherent and flexible way to develop alternative characterizations of a firm’s predatory pricing incentives, some of which are motivated by the existing literature while others are novel. We finally measure the impact of the predatory pricing incentives on industry structure, conduct, and performance. We show that forcing a firm to ignore these incentives in setting its price can have a large impact and that this impact stems from eliminating equilibria with predation-like behavior. Along with the predation-like behavior, however, a fair amount of competition for the market is eliminated. Overall, the distinction between predatory pricing and pricing aggressively to pursue efficiency is closely related to the distinction between the advantage-building and advantage-denying motives that our decomposition of the equilibrium pricing condition isolates and measures.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8708.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
- L44 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Antitrust Policy and Public Enterprise, Nonprofit Institutions, and Professional Organizations
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-12-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2011-12-19 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-GTH-2011-12-19 (Game Theory)
- NEP-MIC-2011-12-19 (Microeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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