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

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  • Subhasish Dugar

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Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Subhasish Dugar, 2007. "Price-Matching Guarantees and Equilibrium Selection in a Homogenous Product Market: An Experimental Study," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(2), pages 107-119, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revind:v:30:y:2007:i:2:p:107-119
    DOI: 10.1007/s11151-007-9129-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    7. 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.
    8. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
    9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
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    11. 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.
    12. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Enrique Fatás & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Juan A. Máñez & Gerardo Sabater, 2013. "Experimental duopolies under price guarantees," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 15-35, January.
    5. Subhasish Dugar & Arnab Mitra, 2016. "Bertrand Competition With Asymmetric Marginal Costs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1631-1647, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price-matching guarantees; Collusion; Homogenous product market; Equilibrium selection; Experiment; L11; L12; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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