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Zone Pricing in Retail Oligopoly

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Listed:
  • Brian Adams
  • Kevin R. Williams

Abstract

We quantify the welfare effects of zone pricing, or setting common prices across distinct markets, in retail oligopoly. Although monopolists can only increase profits by price discriminating, this need not be true when firms face competition. With novel data covering the retail home-improvement industry, we find that Home Depot would benefit from finer pricing but that Lowe's would prefer coarser pricing. Zone pricing softens competition in markets where firms compete, but it shields consumers from higher prices in rural markets, where firms might otherwise exercise market power. Overall, zone pricing produces higher consumer surplus than finer price discrimination does.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Adams & Kevin R. Williams, 2019. "Zone Pricing in Retail Oligopoly," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 124-156, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:11:y:2019:i:1:p:124-56
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20170130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Øyvind Thomassen & Howard Smith & Stephan Seiler & Pasquale Schiraldi, 2017. "Multi-category Competition and Market Power: A Model of Supermarket Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2308-2351, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gastón Illanes & Sarah Moshary, 2020. "Market Structure and Product Assortment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Liquor Licensure," NBER Working Papers 27016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jonas Hjort & Xuan Li & Heather Sarsons, 2020. "Random-Coefficients Logit Demand Estimation with Zero-Valued Market Shares," Working Papers 2020-15, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    3. Fontaine, François & Martin, Julien & Mejean, Isabelle, 2020. "Price discrimination within and across EMU markets: Evidence from French exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    4. Eugenio J. Miravete & Katja Seim & Jeff Thurk, 2020. "One Markup to Rule Them All: Taxation by Liquor Pricing Regulation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 1-41, February.
    5. Hjort, Jonas & Li, Xuan & Sarsons, Heather, 2020. "Across-Country Wage Compression in Multinationals," CEPR Discussion Papers 14465, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Günter J. Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Xiliang Lin, 2019. "Prices and Promotions in U.S. Retail Markets: Evidence from Big Data," NBER Working Papers 26306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2019. "Uniform Pricing in U.S. Retail Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(4), pages 2011-2084.
    8. Diego Daruich & Julian Kozlowski, 2018. "Uniform Pricing Within and Across Regions: New Evidence from Argentina," Working Papers 2018-10, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Yang Li & Brett R. Gordon & Oded Netzer, 2018. "An Empirical Study of National vs. Local Pricing by Chain Stores Under Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(5), pages 812-837, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis

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