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Price-Matching Guarantees and Equilibrium Selection in a Homogenous Product Market: An Experimental Study

  • Subhasish Dugar

    ()

Price-matching guarantees have been alleged to sustain collusive prices in a homogenous product market. Theories in this literature also suggest that there exist multiple equilibria (i.e., a set of price equilibria between the competitive and the monopoly price) when all sellers adopt these guarantees in such a market. Theoretical prediction in this case fails to pin down the actual behavior of players a priori. This paper illustrates the essential role of controlled experiment in testing the collusive theory of price-matching guarantees and thereby shedding light on the embedded equilibrium selection problem. In particular, this paper studies two highly stylized market models, obtains testable predictions, and lays out the design of the controlled experiment. Results indicate that these guarantees facilitate collusion among sellers and thus solve the equilibrium selection problem considerably. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11151-007-9129-9
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 30 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 107-119

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Handle: RePEc:kap:revind:v:30:y:2007:i:2:p:107-119
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  1. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
  2. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D., 1992. "How to Sell a Pickup Truck; "Beat-or-Pay" Advertisements as Facilitating Devices"," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1032, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  3. Corts, Kenneth S., 1997. "On the competitive effects of price-matching policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 283-299, May.
  4. Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price Competition and Market COncentration: An Experimental Study," Papers 1998-08, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  5. Belton, Terrence M., 1987. "A model of duopoly and meeting or beating competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 399-417.
  6. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
  7. Zhiqi Chen, 1993. "How Low is a Garanteed-Lowest-Price?," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 93-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  8. Subhasish Dugar & Todd Sorensen, 2006. "Hassle Costs, Price-Matching Guarantees and Price Competition: An Experiment," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 359-378, June.
  9. Yuxin Chen & Chakravarthi Narasimhan & Z. John Zhang, 2001. "Consumer Heterogeneity and Competitive Price-Matching Guarantees," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 300-314, June.
  10. Png, I P L & Hirshleifer, D, 1987. "Price Discrimination through Offers to Match Price," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(3), pages 365-83, July.
  11. 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 307-32, April.
  12. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "Hassle Costs: The Achilles' Heel of Price-Matching Guarantees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 489-521, December.
  13. Arbatskaya, Maria, 2001. "Can low-price guarantees deter entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1387-1406, November.
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