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Switching Costs and Equilibrium Prices

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  • Cabral, Luís M B

Abstract

In a competitive environment, switching costs have two effects. First, they increase the market power of a seller with locked-in customers. Second, they increase competition for new customers. I provide conditions under which switching costs decrease or increase equilibrium prices. Taken together, the suggest that, if markets are very competitive to begin with, then switching costs make them even more competitive; whereas if markets are not very competitive to begin with, then switching costs make them even less competitive. In the above statements, by "competitive" I mean a market that is close to a symmetric duopoly or one where the sellers' discount factor is very high.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8970.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8970

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Keywords: price competition; switching costs;

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  1. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2010. "The value of switching costs," TSE Working Papers 10-142, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised 30 Oct 2012.
  2. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2006. "Dynamic Competition with Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 37-66, 03.
  3. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1h02g9q4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. 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.
  5. Taylor, Curtis R, 2003. " Supplier Surfing: Competition and Consumer Behavior in Subscription Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 223-46, Summer.
  6. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  7. V. Brian Viard, 2007. "Do switching costs make markets more or less competitive? The case of 800-number portability," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 146-163, 03.
  8. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 634-657, Winter.
  9. Tore Nilssen, 1992. "Two Kinds of Consumer Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 579-589, Winter.
  10. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "The Competitiveness of Markets with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 138-150, Spring.
  11. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
  12. Fabra, Natalia & García, Alfredo, 2012. "Dynamic Price Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 8849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Rhodes, Andrew, 2013. "Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 45982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Wilson, Chris M, 2009. "Market Frictions: A Unified Model of Search and Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 13672, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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