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Designing Price Contracts for Boundedly Rational Customers: Does the Number of Blocks Matter?

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  • Noah Lim

    () (C. T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204)

  • Teck-Hua Ho

    () (Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720)

Abstract

When designing price contracts, one of the major questions confronting managers is how many blocks there should be in the contract. We investigate this question in the setting of a manufacturer-retailer dyad facing a linear deterministic consumer demand. Theoretical marketing models predict that the manufacturer's profits rise dramatically when the number of blocks in the contract is increased from one to two because both channel efficiency and its share of channel profits increase. However, increasing the number of blocks to three yields no incremental profits. We test these predictions experimentally and find that increasing the number of blocks from one to two raises channel efficiency but not the manufacturer's share of profits. Surprisingly, having three blocks in the contract increases channel efficiency even further and also gives the manufacturer a slightly higher share of profits. We show that these results can be explained by a quantal response equilibrium model in which the manufacturer accounts for noisy best response due to nonpecuniary payoff components in the retailer's utility. We also show that the retailer is sensitive to the counterfactual profits it could have earned if it were charged a lower marginal price for earlier blocks in the multiple-block contract.

Suggested Citation

  • Noah Lim & Teck-Hua Ho, 2007. "Designing Price Contracts for Boundedly Rational Customers: Does the Number of Blocks Matter?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(3), pages 312-326, 05-06.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:312-326
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1070.0271
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wilfred Amaldoss & Chuan He, 2016. "Does Informative Advertising Increase Market Price? An Experimental Investigation," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 3(2), pages 63-80, June.
    2. Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Guido Voigt, 2017. "Strategic risk in supply chain contract design," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 125-153, January.
    3. Yuxin Chen & Ganesh Iyer & Amit Pazgal, 2010. "Limited Memory, Categorization, and Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 650-670, 07-08.
    4. Teck-Hua Ho & Xuanming Su, 2009. "Peer-Induced Fairness in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2022-2049, December.
    5. Wu, Diana Yan, 2013. "The impact of repeated interactions on supply chain contracts: A laboratory study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 3-15.
    6. Wilfred Amaldoss & James R. Bettman & John W. Payne, 2008. "—Biased but Efficient: An Investigation of Coordination Facilitated by Asymmetric Dominance," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 903-921, 09-10.
    7. Ganesh Iyer & Chakravarthi Narasimhan & Rakesh Niraj, 2007. "Information and Inventory in Distribution Channels," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(10), pages 1551-1561, October.
    8. Becker-Peth, Michael & Thonemann, Ulrich W., 2016. "Reference points in revenue sharing contracts—How to design optimal supply chain contracts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 1033-1049.
    9. Teck-Hua Ho & Noah Lim & Tony Haitao Cui, 2010. "Reference Dependence in Multilocation Newsvendor Models: A Structural Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 1891-1910, November.
    10. Yuxin Chen & Tony Haitao Cui, 2013. "The Benefit of Uniform Price for Branded Variants," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(1), pages 36-50, March.
    11. Yefen Chen & Xuanming Su & Xiaobo Zhao, 2012. "Modeling Bounded Rationality in Capacity Allocation Games with the Quantal Response Equilibrium," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(10), pages 1952-1962, October.
    12. Anne Coughlan & S. Choi & Wujin Chu & Charles Ingene & Sridhar Moorthy & V. Padmanabhan & Jagmohan Raju & David Soberman & Richard Staelin & Z. Zhang, 2010. "Marketing modeling reality and the realities of marketing modeling," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 317-333, September.
    13. Christoph H. Loch & Yaozhong Wu, 2008. "Social Preferences and Supply Chain Performance: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(11), pages 1835-1849, November.
    14. Basak Kalkanci & Kay-Yut Chen & Feryal Erhun, 2011. "Contract Complexity and Performance Under Asymmetric Demand Information: An Experimental Evaluation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 689-704, April.
    15. Avi Goldfarb & Teck-Hua Ho & Wilfred Amaldoss & Alexander Brown & Yan Chen & Tony Cui & Alberto Galasso & Tanjim Hossain & Ming Hsu & Noah Lim & Mo Xiao & Botao Yang, 2012. "Behavioral models of managerial decision-making," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 405-421, June.
    16. Teck-Hua Ho & Juanjuan Zhang, 2008. "Designing Pricing Contracts for Boundedly Rational Customers: Does the Framing of the Fixed Fee Matter?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(4), pages 686-700, April.
    17. Messinger, Paul R., 2016. "The role of fairness in competitive supply chain relationships: An experimental studyAuthor-Name: Choi, Sungchul," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(3), pages 798-813.
    18. Özalp Özer & Yanchong Zheng & Kay-Yut Chen, 2011. "Trust in Forecast Information Sharing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(6), pages 1111-1137, June.
    19. Mai, Feng & Fry, Michael J. & Raturi, Amitabh S., 2016. "Supply-chain performance anomalies: Fairness concerns under private cost informationAuthor-Name: Qin, Fei," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 252(1), pages 170-182.
    20. Ke Wang & Jinwen Sun & Liang Liang & Xiaoyan Li, 2016. "Optimal contracts and the manufacturer’s pricing strategies in a supply chain with an inequity-averse retailer," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 24(1), pages 107-125, March.

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