Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet
AbstractWe examine manufacturers' decisions of whether and how to offer their products for sale over the internet. Manufacturers that rely on promotion of their products by brick and mortar retailers must consider the possibility that internet retailers can free ride off of that promotional effort. This creates an incentive for manufacturers to limit the availability of their products over the internet and to control the pricing of their products over the internet. We examine three categories of products: fragrances, DVD players, and side by side refrigerators. Our evidence suggests that manufacturers that limit distribution in the physical world also use various mechanisms to limit distribution online. In particular, we find evidence that these manufacturers attempt to prevent the sale of their products by online retailers who sell goods at deep discounts. Furthermore, we show that manufacturers who distribute their goods directly through manufacturer websites tend to charge very high prices for the products, consistent with the hypothesis that manufacturers internalize free rider issues. While our main focus is on free riding, our evidence on pricing practices is germane to the growing literature on price dispersion on the internet.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8067.
Date of creation: Jan 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Carlton, Dennis W & Chevalier, Judith A, 2001. "Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet," Journal of Industrial Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(4), pages 441-61, December.
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Other versions of this item:
- Dennis W. Carlton & Judith A. Chevalier, 2001. "Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 441-461 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carlton, Dennis W & Chevalier, Judith A, 2001. "Free Riding and Sales Strategies for the Internet," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 441-61, December.
- L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
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