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Spatial models of heterogeneous switching costs

Author

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  • Siciliani, Paolo

    (Bank of England)

  • Beckert, Walter

    (University of London)

Abstract

The presence of sticky, often labelled ‘unengaged’, consumers is arguably one of the most intractable issues faced by competition regulators, in that it entrenches incumbency advantage. We develop a spatial linear model of heterogeneous switching costs that allows for asymmetric distributions of heterogeneous switching costs. We not only model uniform pricing and history-based price discrimination, but also the impact of regulatory intervention aimed at making it easier for customers to be upgraded to a better tariff from their current service provider, something we call ‘leakage’. Finally, we analyse firms’ incentive to adopt history-based price discrimination and voluntarily permit ‘leakage’.

Suggested Citation

  • Siciliani, Paolo & Beckert, Walter, 2017. "Spatial models of heterogeneous switching costs," Bank of England working papers 689, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0689
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paulo Somaini & Liran Einav, 2013. "A Model of Market Power in Customer Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 938-986, December.
    2. Thomas Gehrig & Oz Shy & Rune Stenbacka, 2012. "A Welfare Evaluation of History-Based Price Discrimination," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 373-393, December.
    3. Andrew Rhodes, 2014. "Re-examining the effects of switching costs," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 57(1), pages 161-194, September.
    4. Thisse, Jacques-Francois & Vives, Xavier, 1988. "On the Strategic Choice of Spatial Price Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 122-137, March.
    5. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-666, May.
    6. Jason Pearcy, 2016. "Bargains Followed by Bargains: When Switching Costs Make Markets More Competitive," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 826-851, December.
    7. Luis Cabral, 2016. "Dynamic Pricing in Customer Markets with Switching Costs," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 43-62, April.
    8. Fabra, Natalia & García, Alfredo, 2015. "Market structure and the competitive effects of switching costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 150-155.
    9. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "The value of switching costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 935-952.
    10. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 809, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    11. Besanko, David & Lyon, Thomas P., 1993. "Equilibrium incentives for most-favored customer clauses in an oligopolistic industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 347-367, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Walter Beckert & Paolo Siciliani, 2018. "Protecting Vulnerable Consumers in "Switching Markets"," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1808, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Switching costs; unengaged ‘sticky’ customers; spatial linear model; uniform pricing; history-based price discrimination; ‘leakage’;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L44 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Antitrust Policy and Public Enterprise, Nonprofit Institutions, and Professional Organizations

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