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Optimal price promotion in the presence of asymmetric reference-price effects


  • Gadi Fibich

    (Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)

  • Arieh Gavious

    (Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel)

  • Oded Lowengart

    (Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel)


In this study we demonstrate how a reference price may affect the degree of price rigidity|flexibility. For this, we construct a model of reference-price formation, which we use to analyze the effect of asymmetric reference price (cut 'effects') on the profitability of price promotions. We derive explicit expressions for the additional profits earned during a promotional period due to consumer perception of a 'gain', and for the post-promotion loss of potential profits due to consumer perception of a 'loss'. We show that when effects of losses on demand are greater than effects of gains ('loss aversion'), price promotions always lead to a decline in profits. When, however, effects of gains are larger than those of losses, price promotions, as well as reverse price promotions (i.e. price increase) can be profitable. In the latter case we calculate the optimal depth and duration of a price promotion. We also show that reference price can affect price rigidity and flexibility. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Gadi Fibich & Arieh Gavious & Oded Lowengart, 2007. "Optimal price promotion in the presence of asymmetric reference-price effects," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 569-577.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:28:y:2007:i:6:p:569-577
    DOI: 10.1002/mde.1333

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
    2. Eric A. Greenleaf, 1995. "The Impact of Reference Price Effects on the Profitability of Price Promotions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 82-104.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    4. Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Robert Venable, 1998. "Price adjustment at multiproduct retailers," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 81-120.
    5. Dutta, Shantanu, et al, 1999. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 683-703, November.
    6. Praveen K. Kopalle & Ambar G. Rao & João L. Assunção, 1996. "Asymmetric Reference Price Effects and Dynamic Pricing Policies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(1), pages 60-85.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Reference Dependence and Market Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 1073-1097, December.
    2. Alfred Taudes & Christian Rudloff, 2012. "Integrating inventory control and a price change in the presence of reference price effects: a two-period model," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 75(1), pages 29-65, February.
    3. Dye, Chung-Yuan & Yang, Chih-Te, 2016. "Optimal dynamic pricing and preservation technology investment for deteriorating products with reference price effects," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 52-67.
    4. Chen, Haipeng (Allan) & Levy, Daniel & Ray, Sourav & Bergen, Mark, 2008. "Asymmetric price adjustment in the small," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 728-737, May.
    5. Ran Spiegler, 2012. "Monopoly pricing when consumers are antagonized by unexpected price increases: a “cover version” of the Heidhues–Kőszegi–Rabin model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(3), pages 695-711, November.
    6. Martín-Herrán, Guiomar & Taboubi, Sihem, 2015. "Price coordination in distribution channels: A dynamic perspective," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(2), pages 401-414.
    7. Daniel Levy, 2007. "Price rigidity and flexibility: recent theoretical developments," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 523-530.
    8. Zhang, Juan & Gou, Qinglong & Liang, Liang & Huang, Zhimin, 2013. "Supply chain coordination through cooperative advertising with reference price effect," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 345-353.
    9. Fabien Ngendakuriyo & Sihem Taboubi, 2017. "Pricing Strategies of Complementary Products in Distribution Channels: A Dynamic Approach," Dynamic Games and Applications, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 48-66, March.
    10. Lin, Zhibing, 2016. "Price promotion with reference price effects in supply chain," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 52-68.
    11. Arieh Gavious & Oded Lowengart, 2012. "Price–quality relationship in the presence of asymmetric dynamic reference quality effects," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 137-161, March.
    12. repec:spr:compst:v:75:y:2012:i:1:p:29-65 is not listed on IDEAS

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