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Price Rigidity in Customer Markets

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  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    ()

  • Elke Renner

    ()

Abstract

Customer markets are characterized by long-term relations between buyers and sellers. Long-term relations evolve if buyers trust sellers to provide high quality and if sellers are trustworthy. However, changes in the terms of this implicit contract may antagonize customers and disrupt the relation. We experimentally show that mutually beneficial long-term relations frequently prevail in markets for experience goods, and that price rigidity after a temporary cost shock is much more pronounced if price increases cannot be justified by cost increases. Hence, long-term relations on customer markets mitigate market failure of the “lemons” type, but are prone to price stickiness.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 with number 2003-16.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2003:2003-16

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Keywords: Customer market; price stickiness; customer loyalty;

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References

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  1. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2002. "Contractual Incompleteness and the Nature of Market Interactions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3272, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2002. "Environmental Labeling and Incomplete Consumer Information in Laboratory Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 113-134, January.
  3. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Customer Anger at Price Increases, Time Variation in the Frequency of Price Changes and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Engle-Warnick, Jim & Slonim, Robert L., 2004. "The evolution of strategies in a repeated trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 553-573, December.
  5. Mark A. Wynne, 1995. "Sticky prices: what is the evidence?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 1-12.
  6. Franciosi, Robert, et al, 1995. "Fairness: Effect on Temporary and Equilibrium Prices in Posted-Offer Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 938-50, July.
  7. Cason Timothy N. & Friedman Daniel, 2002. "A Laboratory Study of Customer Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-45, February.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  9. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  10. Harvey James, 2002. "On the Reliability of Trusting," Microeconomics 0202002, EconWPA.
  11. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  12. Kachelmeier, Steven J. & Limberg, Stephen T. & Schadewald, Michael S., 1991. "Fairness in markets: A laboratory investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 447-464, September.
  13. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  14. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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Cited by:
  1. M. Alper Cenesiz, 2007. "A New Cost Channel of Monetary Policy," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 68, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  2. Nakamura, Emi & Steinsson, Jón, 2011. "Price setting in forward-looking customer markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 220-233.
  3. Arno Riedl & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2003. "Tax Liability Side Equivalence in Gift-Exchange Labor Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-065/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Andrew T. Young & Daniel Levy, 2013. "Explicit Evidence of an Implicit Contract," Working Papers 2013-06, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  5. Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2004. "Reciprocity, Social Ties, and Competition in Markets for Experience Goods," Discussion Papers 04-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Andrew T. Young & Alexander K. Blue, 2007. "Retail prices during a change in monetary regimes: evidence from Sears, Roebuck catalogs, 1938-1951," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 763-775.
  7. Kleshchelski, Isaac & Vincent, Nicolas, 2009. "Market share and price rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 344-352, April.
  8. Emmanuel Saez & Pascal Michaillat, 2013. "A Theory of Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand as Functions of Market Tightness with Prices as Parameters," 2013 Meeting Papers 1216, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Nicolas Vincent, 2012. "Price Stickiness in Customer Markets with Reference Prices," Cahiers de recherche 1230, CIRPEE.

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