IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/9374.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Search Costs, Demand-Side Economies and the Incentives to Merge under Bertrand Competition

Author

Listed:
  • Moraga-González, José-Luis
  • Petrikaite, Vaiva

Abstract

We study the incentives to merge in a Bertrand competition model where firms sell differentiated products and consumers search sequentially for satisfactory deals. In the pre-merger symmetric equilibrium, consumers visit firmsrandomly. However, after a merger, because insiders raise their prices more than the outsiders, consumers start searching for good deals at the non-merging stores, and only when they do not find a satisfactory product there they visit the merging firms. As search costs go up, consumer traffic from the non-merging firms to the merged ones decreases and eventually mergers become unprofitable. This new merger paradox can be overcome if the merged entity chooses to stock each of its stores with all the products of the constituent firms, which generates sizable search economies. We show that such demand-side economies can confer the merging firms a prominent position in the marketplace, in which case their price may even be lower than the price of the non-merging firms. In that situation, consumers start searching for a satisfactory good at the merged entity and the firms outside the merger lose out. When search economies are sufficiently large, a merger is beneficial for consumers too, and overall welfare increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Moraga-González, José-Luis & Petrikaite, Vaiva, 2013. "Search Costs, Demand-Side Economies and the Incentives to Merge under Bertrand Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 9374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9374
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9374
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Norbert Schulz & Konrad Stahl, 1996. "Do Consumers Search for the Highest Price? Oligopoly Equilibrium and Monopoly Optimum in Differentiated Products Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 542-562, Autumn.
    2. Shelegia, Sandro, 2012. "Multiproduct pricing in oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 231-242.
    3. Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
    4. Marco A. Haan & José L. Moraga‐González, 2011. "Advertising for Attention in a Consumer Search Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 552-579, May.
    5. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    6. Maria Arbatskaya, 2007. "Ordered search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 119-126, March.
    7. McAfee, R Preston & Williams, Michael A, 1992. "Horizontal Mergers and Antitrust Policy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 181-187, June.
    8. Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Armstrong, Mark, 2016. "Ordered Consumer Search," MPRA Paper 72194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Hong Zhu & Qi Zhu, 2016. "Mergers and acquisitions by Chinese firms: A review and comparison with other mergers and acquisitions research in the leading journals," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 1107-1149, December.
    3. Alexei Parakhonyak & Maria Titova, 2016. "Shopping Malls, Platforms and Consumer Search," Economics Series Working Papers 807, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Rhodes, Andrew & Zhou, Jidong, 2016. "Consumer Search and Retail Market Structure," MPRA Paper 69484, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Amedeo Piolatto, 2015. "Online booking and information: competition and welfare consequences of review aggregators," Working Papers 2015/11, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer search; demand-side economies; economies of search; insiders; long-run; mergers; orders of search; outsiders; prominence; sequential search; short-run;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9374. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.