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Why Suggest Non‐Binding Retail Prices?




We provide a simple behavioral explanation of why manufacturers frequently announce non-binding suggested retail prices for their products. Our model is based on the assumption that once the actual price for a product exceeds its suggested retail price, the marginal propensity to consume suddenly jumps downward. This property of individual demand corresponds to Kahneman and Tversky’s concept of loss aversion. We show that it may induce a monopolistic retailer to set the price equal to the suggested retail price in equilibrium, although the latter price is nonbinding. This, in turn, leads to a shift of profits from the retailer to the manufacturer.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:78:y:2011:i:310:p:317-329

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 2003. "The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price," CEPR Discussion Papers 3954, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    3. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-180, January.
    4. Bruno Jullien & Patrick Rey, 2007. "Resale price maintenance and collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 983-1001, December.
    5. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    6. Frank Mathewson & Ralph Winter, 1998. "The Law and Economics of Resale Price Maintenance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(1), pages 57-84, April.
    7. S. Rosenkranz, 2003. "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices," Working Papers 03-05, Utrecht School of Economics.
    8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1985. "Common Marketing Agency as a Device for Facilitating Collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 269-281, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitry Lubensky, 2011. "A Model of Recommended Retail Prices," Working Papers 2011-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    2. Armstrong, Mark & Chen, Yongmin, 2012. "Discount pricing," MPRA Paper 39074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Stefan Buehler & Dennis L. Gärtner, 2013. "Making Sense of Nonbinding Retail-Price Recommendations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 335-359, February.
    4. Babur De los Santos & In Kyung Kim & Dmitry Lubensky, 2013. "Do MSRPs Decrease Prices?," Working Papers 2013-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    5. Lisa Bruttel, 2014. "The Effects of Non-binding Retail-price Recommendations on Consumer and Retailer Behavior," TWI Research Paper Series 93, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    6. Fabrizi, Simona & Lippert, Steffen & Puppe, Clemens & Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 2016. "Manufacturer suggested retail prices, loss aversion and competition," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 141-153.

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