Variable Pricing in Oligopoly Markets
Behavioral research has found that consumers respond to variability in prices in addition to price levels. We show that this finding can explain why some firms vary their prices more frequently than others. We examine pricing strategies composed of an average price and price variability and employ logit market share models to analyze equilibrium pricing strategies in an oligopoly. Two competing logit specifications termed price sensitivity and payoff sensitivity are considered and are shown to yield contradictory implications for pricing policy. From three empirical studies on restaurant choice, we find that the price sensitivity model is the better model.
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