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Price competition in the presence of a web aggregator

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  • Oksana Loginova

    (University of Missouri)

  • Andrea Mantovani

    (University of Bologna)

Abstract

In this paper we examine the impact of a web aggregator on firms and consumers in a horizontally differentiated market. When a firm pays a fee to be listed on the aggregator’s website, its location and price become observable to e-users (consumers who visit the website). We consider two settings, depending on the possibility for online firms to offer discounts to e-users. In equilibrium, not all firms will go online—some will choose to remain offline. Online firms attract more customers due to the higher level of information, but face a tougher price competition. When the proportion of e-users is relatively low, price discrimination may hurt the firms. Therefore, less of them can afford to go online. The opposite holds when e-users predominate; price discrimination yields a higher number of online firms than uniform pricing. Finally, we evaluate the aggregator’s optimal policy regarding the fee and whether to impose uniform pricing or to allow price discrimination. We discover that, unless the proportion of e-users is relatively low, the aggregator induces only a few firms to go online.

Suggested Citation

  • Oksana Loginova & Andrea Mantovani, 2019. "Price competition in the presence of a web aggregator," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 43-73, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:126:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00712-018-0612-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s00712-018-0612-6
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online reviews aggregators; Price discrimination; Competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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