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Zone Pricing in Retail Oligopoly

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We quantify the welfare effects of zone pricing, or setting common prices across distinct markets, in retail oligopoly. Although monopolists can only increase profits by price discriminating, this need not be true when firms face competition. With novel data covering the retail home improvement industry, we find that Home Depot would benefit from finer pricing but that Lowe’s would prefer coarser pricing. Zone pricing softens competition in markets where firms compete, but it shields consumers from higher prices in markets where firms might otherwise exercise market power. Overall, zone pricing produces higher consumer surplus than finer pricing discrimination does.

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File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d20/d2079-r.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 2079R.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2017
Date of revision: Apr 2017
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:2079r
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Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Alberto Cavallo, 2017. "Are Online and Offline Prices Similar? Evidence from Large Multi-channel Retailers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(1), pages 283-303, January.
  2. Cardell, N. Scott, 1997. "Variance Components Structures for the Extreme-Value and Logistic Distributions with Application to Models of Heterogeneity," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 185-213, April.
  3. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2009. "An empirical investigation of the welfare effects of banning wholesale price discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 20-46.
  4. Matthew Grennan, 2013. "Price Discrimination and Bargaining: Empirical Evidence from Medical Devices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 145-177, February.
  5. Eizenberg, Alon & Lach, Saul & Yiftach, Merav, 2016. "Retail Prices in a City," CEPR Discussion Papers 11590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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