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Discount pricing

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  • Armstrong, Mark
  • Chen, Yongmin

Abstract

This paper investigates "discount pricing", the common marketing practice whereby a price is listed as a discount from an earlier, or regular, price. We discuss two reasons why a discounted price---as opposed to a merely low price---can make a rational consumer more willing to purchase the item. First, the information that the product was initially sold at a high price can indicate the product is high quality. Second, a discounted price can signal that the product is an unusual bargain, and there is little point searching for lower prices. We also discuss a behavioral model in which consumers have an intrinsic preference for paying a below-average price. Here, a seller has an incentive to offer different prices to identical consumers, so that a proportion of its consumers enjoy a bargain. We discuss in each framework when a seller has an incentive to offer false discounts, in which the reference price is exaggerated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39074.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39074

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Keywords: reference dependence; price discounts; sales tactics; false advertising;

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  1. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2012. "Salience and Consumer Choice," Working Papers 463, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Heidhues, Paul & Köszegi, Botond, 2005. "The Impact of Consumer Loss Aversion on Pricing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Retail Pricing and Clearance Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 14-32, March.
  4. Nicola Gennaioli & Alberto Martin & Stefano Rossi, 2014. "Sovereign Default, Domestic Banks, and Financial Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 819-866, 04.
  5. Clemens Puppe & Stephanie Rosenkranz, 2011. "Why Suggest Non‐Binding Retail Prices?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(310), pages 317-329, 04.
  6. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  7. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  8. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
  9. Zhou, Jidong, 2008. "Reference Dependence and Market Competition," MPRA Paper 9370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Paul Rubin, 2008. "Regulation of Information and Advertising," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 4.
  11. Urbany, Joel E & Bearden, William O & Weilbaker, Dan C, 1988. " The Effect of Plausible and Exaggerated Reference Prices on Consumer Perceptions and Price Search," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 95-110, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Mark Armstrong & Jidong Zhou, 2013. "Search Deterrence," Economics Series Working Papers 661, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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