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Competitive nonlinear pricing and bundling

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  • Armstrong, Mark
  • Vickers, John

Abstract

We examine the impact of multiproduct nonlinear pricing on profit, consumer surplus and welfare in a duopoly. When consumers buy all their products from one firm (the one-stop shopping model), nonlinear pricing leads to higher profit and welfare, but often lower consumer surplus, than linear pricing. By contrast, in a unit-demand model where consumers may buy one product from one firm and another product from another firm, bundling generally acts to reduce profit and welfare and to boost consumer surplus. In a more general model where consumers may buy from more than one firm and where consumers have elastic demands for each product, nonlinear pricing has ambiguous effects. Compared with linear pricing, nonlinear pricing tends to raise profit but harm consumer surplus when: (i) demand is elastic, (ii) there is substantial product differentiation, (iii) there is substantial heterogeneity in consumer demand, (iv) consumers face substantial shopping costs when visiting more than one firm, and (v) a consumer's brand preference for one product is strongly correlated with her brand preference for another product. Nonlinear pricing is more likely to lead to welfare gains when (i), (ii), (iv) and (v) hold, but (iii) does not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 70.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:70

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Keywords: Price discrimination; bundling; nonlinear pricing; oligopoly;

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  1. Spulber, Daniel F., 1979. "Non-cooperative equilibrium with price discriminating firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 221-227.
  2. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
  3. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551, 04.
  4. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre, 1992. "Compatibility and Bundling of Complementary Goods in a Duopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 37-54, March.
  5. Whinston, Michael D, 1990. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 837-59, September.
  6. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Stole, Lars A, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311, January.
  7. Anderson, Simon P. & Leruth, Luc, 1993. "Why firms may prefer not to price discriminate via mixed bundling," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 49-61, March.
  8. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
  9. Xiangkang Yin, 2000. "Two-part tariff competition in duopoly," Working Papers 2000.11, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  10. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  11. Barry Nalebuff, 2004. "Bundling as an Entry Barrier," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 159-187, February.
  12. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
  13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Whinston, Michael D, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-83, May.
  14. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2001. "Competitive Price Discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 579-605, Winter.
  15. John Thanassoulis, 2007. "Competitive Mixed Bundling and Consumer Surplus," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 437-467, 06.
  16. Stole, Lars A, 1995. "Nonlinear Pricing and Oligopoly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(4), pages 529-62, Winter.
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