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The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies


  • Edlin, Aaron S
  • Emch, Eric R


Several recent papers argue that price-matching policies raise equilibrium prices. The authors add to this literature by considering potential welfare losses, which have two sources: Harberger triangles from high prices and Posner rectangles from overentry. They compare price-matching markets with entry to monopoly and price-matching markets without entry, and find that price matching with entry creates greater welfare losses than monopoly in markets with a low ratio of fixed to marginal cost. The authors illustrate this result using parameters from the U.S. wholesale gasoline and air travel markets and relate their model to price matching among NASDAQ marketmakers. Copyright 1999 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Suggested Citation

  • Edlin, Aaron S & Emch, Eric R, 1999. "The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 145-167, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:47:y:1999:i:2:p:145-67

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christie, William G & Harris, Jeffrey H & Schultz, Paul H, 1994. " Why Did NASDAQ Market Makers Stop Avoiding Odd-Eighth Quotes?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1841-1860, December.
    2. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
    3. Christie William G. & Huang Roger D., 1994. "Market Structures and Liquidity: A Transactions Data Study of Exchange Listings," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 300-326, June.
    4. Huang, Roger D. & Stoll, Hans R., 1996. "Dealer versus auction markets: A paired comparison of execution costs on NASDAQ and the NYSE," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 313-357, July.
    5. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
    6. Crocker, Keith J & Lyon, Thomas P, 1994. "What do Facilitating Practices Facilitate? An Empirical Investigation of Most-Favored-Nation Clauses in Natural Gas Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 297-322, October.
    7. Corts, Kenneth S., 1995. "On the robustness of the argument that price-matching is anti-competitive," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(3-4), pages 417-421, March.
    8. Kandel, Eugene & Marx, Leslie M., 1997. "Nasdaq market structure and spread patterns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 61-89, July.
    9. Severin Borenstein, 1991. "Selling Costs and Switching Costs: Explaining Retail Gasoline Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 354-369, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arbatskaya, Maria & Hviid, Morten & Shaffer, Greg, 2004. "On the Incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 307-332, April.
    2. Oliver Budzinski, 2009. "Modern Industrial Economics and Competition Policy: Open Problems and Possible Limits," Working Papers 93/09, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    3. Kaplow, Louis & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Antitrust," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Subhasish Dugar & Todd Sorensen, 2006. "Hassle Costs, Price-Matching Guarantees and Price Competition: An Experiment," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 28(4), pages 359-378, June.
    5. Dewenter Ralf & Schwalbe Ulrich, 2016. "Preisgarantien im Kraftstoffmarkt," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 276-288, September.
    6. Andreas Pollak, 2017. "Do Price-Matching Guarantees with Markups Facilitate Tacit Collusion? Theory and Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 93, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    7. Enrique Fatas & Juan Mañez, 2007. "Are low-price promises collusion guarantees? An experimental test of price matching policies," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 59-77, March.
    8. F. Javier Casado-Izaga, 2000. "Welfare effects of price-matching policies in a differentiated product market," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(2), pages 487-498, May.
    9. Sridhar Moorthy & Ralph A. Winter, 2006. "Price‐matching guarantees," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 449-465, June.
    10. Raskovich, Alexander, 2007. "Retail buyer power through steering," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 221-225, August.
    11. Mago, Shakun Datta & Pate, Jennifer G., 2009. "An experimental examination of competitor-based price matching guarantees," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 342-360, May.
    12. Pio Baake & Ulrich Schwalbe, 2013. "Price Guarantees, Consumer Search, and Hassle Costs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1335, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Dong, Gang & Huang, Rongbing & Ng, Peggy, 2016. "Tacit collusion between two terminals of a port," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 199-211.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General


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