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Are loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes anti-competitive?

  • Caminal, Ramon
  • Claici, Adina

Many economists and policy analysts seem to believe that loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes, like frequent flyer programs, tend to reinforce firms' market power and hence are detrimental to consumer welfare. The existing academic literature has supported this view to some extent. In contrast, we argue that these programs are business stealing devices that enhance competition, in the sense of generating lower average transaction prices and higher consumer surplus. This result is robust to alternative specifications of the firms' commitment power and demand structures, and is derived in a theoretical model whose main predictions are compatible with the sparse empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5353.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5353
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  1. Yongmin Chen & Michael H. Riordan, 2007. "Vertical integration, exclusive dealing, and expost cartelization," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 1-21, 03.
  2. To, Theodore, 1996. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs: An Overlapping Generations Formulation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 81-87, March.
  3. Byung-Do Kim & Mengze Shi & Kannan Srinivasan, 2001. "Reward Programs and Tacit Collusion," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(2), pages 99-120, June.
  4. Caminal, Ramon & Claici, Adina, 2007. "Are loyalty-rewarding pricing schemes anti-competitive?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 657-674, August.
  5. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-66, May.
  6. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King, 2006. "PAYING FOR LOYALTY: PRODUCT BUNDLING IN OLIGOPOLY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 43-62, 03.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1871, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  9. Bulkley, George, 1992. "The role of loyalty discounts when consumers are uncertain of the value of repeat purchases," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 91-101, March.
  10. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2006. "Dynamic Competition with Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 37-66, 03.
  11. Robert D. Cairns & John W. Galbraith, 1990. "Artificial Compatibility, Barriers to Entry, and Frequent-Flyer Programs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(4), pages 807-16, November.
  12. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
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