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Regulating Availability with Demand Uncertainty

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  • Roland Strausz

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Abstract

I evaluate German regulation that requires retail discounters to guarantee the availability of their products in bargain sales. The regulation is meant to prevent loss leaders. Retailers however claim that rationing is due to demand uncertainty and thereby undermine the regulation's rationale. Indeed, demand uncertainty explains empirical observations better than a theory of loss leaders. This paper shows, however, that also under demand uncertainty the regulation has positive effects. Ultimately, it raises production, which, under imperfect competition, is beneficial. A strict regulation overshoots its goal when high demand is relatively unlikely. In this case more sophisticated regulation is required.

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  • Roland Strausz, "undated". "Regulating Availability with Demand Uncertainty," Papers 019, Departmental Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:bef:lsbest:019
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    File URL: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/%7Elsbester/papers/bargain.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. E. Zabel, 1970. "Monopoly and Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 205-219.
    2. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    3. Raymond Deneckere & Howard P. Marvel & James Peck, 1996. "Demand Uncertainty, Inventories, and Resale Price Maintenance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 885-913.
    4. Bester, Helmut, 1994. "Random Advertising and Monopolistic Price Dispersion," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 545-559, Fall.
    5. T. M. Whitin, 1955. "Inventory Control and Price Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 61-68, October.
    6. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
    7. Smith, Kenneth R., 1969. "The effect of uncertainty on monopoly price, capital stock and utilization of capital," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 48-59, June.
    8. James D. Dana Jr., 1999. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion Under Demand Uncertainty: The Roles of Costly Capacity and Market Structure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 632-660, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Rosato, 2016. "Selling substitute goods to loss-averse consumers: limited availability, bargains, and rip-offs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 709-733, August.

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