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Loss Leading as an Exploitative Practice

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  • Rey, Patrick
  • Chen, Zhijun

Abstract

We show that large retailers, competing with smaller stores that carry a narrower range, can exercise market power by pricing below cost some of the products also offered by the smaller rivals, in order to discriminate multi-stop shoppers from onestop shoppers. Loss leading thus appears as an exploitative device rather than as an exclusionary instrument, although it hurts the smaller rivals as well; banning below-cost pricing increases consumer surplus, rivals’ profits, and social welfare. Our insights extend to industries where established firms compete with entrants offering fewer products. They also apply to complementary products such as platforms and applications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 658.

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Date of creation: 23 Nov 2010
Date of revision: Dec 2011
Publication status: Published in American Economic Review, vol.�102, n°7, 2012, p.�3462-3482.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:24028

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Keywords: loss leading; exploitative practice; retail power;

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References

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  1. Bolton, P. & Brodley, J.F. & Riordan, M.H., 1999. "Predatory Pricing: Strategic Theory and Legal Policy," Discussion Paper 1999-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Weinstein, Jonathan & Ambrus, Attila, 2008. "Price Dispersion and Loss Leaders," Scholarly Articles 4589708, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Roman Inderst & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2011. "Buyer Power And The ‘Waterbed Effect’," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 1-20, 03.
  4. John Vickers & Mark Armstrong, 2006. "Competitive Nonlinear Pricing and Bundling," Economics Series Working Papers 281, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2007. "Buyer power and supplier incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 647-667, April.
  6. Allain Marie-Laure & Chambolle Claire, 2005. "Loss-Leaders Banning Laws as Vertical Restraints," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, February.
  7. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
  8. Patrick REY & Thibaud VERGE, 2009. "Resale Price Maintenance and Interlocking Relationships," Working Papers 2009-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  9. Zhiqi Chen, 2001. "Dominant Retailers and the Countervailing Power Hypothesis," Carleton Economic Papers 01-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
  10. Skidmore, Mark & Peltier, James & Alm, James, 2005. "Do state motor fuel sales-below-cost laws lower prices?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 189-211, January.
  11. T. Randolph Beard & Michael L. Stern, 2008. "CONTINUOUS CROSS SUBSIDIES AND QUANTITY RESTRICTIONS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 840-861, December.
  12. Claire CHAMBOLLE, 2005. "Stratégies de revente à perte et réglementation," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 77, pages 59-79.
  13. Kathleen Cleeren & Frank Verboven & Marnik G. Dekimpe & Katrijn Gielens, 2010. "Intra- and Interformat Competition Among Discounters and Supermarkets," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 456-473, 05-06.
  14. Weinstein, Jonathan & Ambrus, Attila, 2008. "Price dispersion and loss leaders," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(4), December.
  15. Weinstein, Jonathan & Ambrus, Attila, 2008. "Price Dispersion and Loss Leaders," Scholarly Articles 4685158, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Walsh, Patrick Paul & Whelan, Ciara, 1999. "Loss leading and price intervention in multiproduct retailing: welfare outcomes in a second-best world1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 333-347, September.
  17. Bliss, Christopher, 1988. "A Theory of Retail Pricing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 375-91, June.
  18. Oecd, 2007. "Resale below Cost Laws and Regulations," OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 169-255.
  19. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, 04.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. “Loss Leading as an Exploitative Practice,” Z. Chen & P. Rey (2012)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2013-07-12 04:27:32
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Cited by:
  1. Noriaki Matsushima & Akira Miyaoka, 2013. "Who benefits from resale-below-cost laws?," ISER Discussion Paper 0875, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  2. Johansen, Bjørn Olav, 2012. "The Buyer Power Of Multiproduct Retailers: Competition With One-Stop Shopping," Working Papers in Economics 03/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  3. Brandão, António & Correia-da-Silva, João & Pinho, Joana, 2014. "Spatial competition between shopping centers," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 234-250.
  4. Rhodes, Andrew, 2011. "Multiproduct pricing and the Diamond Paradox," MPRA Paper 32511, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Chen, Zhijun & Rey, Patrick, 2013. "Competitive Cross-Subsidization," TSE Working Papers 808, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  6. Smith, Howard & Thomassen, Øyvind, 2012. "Multi-category demand and supermarket pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 309-314.
  7. In, Younghwan & Wright, Julian, 2014. "Loss-leader pricing and upgrades," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 19-22.
  8. Rosato, Antonio, 2013. "Selling Substitute Goods to Loss-Averse Consumers: Limited Availability, Bargains and Rip-offs," MPRA Paper 47168, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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