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Price Floors and Competition

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Abstract

A potential source of instability of many economic models is that agents have little incentive to stick with the equilibrium. We show experimentally that this may matter with price competition. The control variable is a price floor, which increases the cost of deviating from equilibrium. Theoretically the floor allows competitors to obtain higher profits, as low prices are excluded. However, behaviorally the opposite is observed; with a floor competitors receive lower joint profits. An error model (logit equilibrium) captures some but not all the important features of the data. We provide statistical support for a complementary explanation, which refers to how "threatening" an equilibrium is. We discuss the economic import of these findings, concerning matters like resale price maintenance and auction design.

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  • Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri & Goeree, Jacob K. & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2002. "Price Floors and Competition," Research Papers in Economics 2002:13, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2002_0013
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    • Martin Dufwenberg & Uri Gneezy & Jacob Goeree & Rosemarie Nagel, 2007. "Price floors and competition," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 211-224, October.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Engelmann, Dirk & Kübler, Dorothea, 2007. "Do Legal Standards Affect Ethical Concerns of Consumers?," IZA Discussion Papers 3266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
    3. Bastiaan Overvest, 2012. "A note on collusion and resale price maintenance," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 235-239, August.
    4. Steffen Huck & Gabriele K. Lünser & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2016. "Price competition and reputation in markets for experience goods: an experimental study," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(1), pages 99-117, February.
    5. Ghidoni, Riccardo & Cleave, Blair & Suetens, Sigrid, 2018. "Perfect and Imperfect Strangers in Social Dilemmas," Discussion Paper 2018-002, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts, 2005. "Collusion in Growing and Shrinking Markets: Empirical Evidence from Experimental Duopolies," Working Papers 168, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. David Cooper, 2007. "An introduction to the symposium on behavioral game theory," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 1-10, October.
    8. Christoph Engel, 2007. "The Cognitive Effect of a Minimum Wage. Comment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(1), pages 52-55, March.
    9. Yves Breitmoser & Jonathan Tan & Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Understanding perpetual R&D races," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(3), pages 445-467, September.
    10. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts, 2005. "Price Competition Under Cost Uncertainty: A Laboratory Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 636-648, July.
    11. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Haeringer, Guillaume & Klijn, Flip, 2011. "A comment on "School choice: An experimental study" [J. Econ. Theory 127 (1) (2006) 202-231]," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 392-396, January.
    12. Subhasish Dugar & Arnab Mitra, 2016. "Bertrand Competition With Asymmetric Marginal Costs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1631-1647, July.
    13. Helland, Leif & Moen, Espen R. & Preugschat, Edgar, 2017. "Information and coordination frictions in experimental posted offer markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 53-74.
    14. Jiménez-Jiménez, Francisca & Rodero-Cosano, Javier, 2015. "The effect of priming in a Bertrand competition game: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 94-100.
    15. Philip A. Haile & Ali Hortaçsu & Grigory Kosenok, 2008. "On the Empirical Content of Quantal Response Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 180-200, March.
    16. Boone, Jan & Larraín Aylwin, María Jose & Müller, Wieland & Ray Chaudhuri, Amrita, 2012. "Bertrand competition with asymmetric costs: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 134-137.
    17. Halevy, Yoram & Peters, Michael, 2007. "Other Regarding Preferences: Outcomes, Intentions, or Interdependence," Microeconomics.ca working papers peters-07-03-31-11-46-48, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 24 Jun 2009.
    18. Huck, Steffen & Ruchala, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2007. "Pricing and Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 6135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Gallice, Andrea, 2010. "The neglected effects of demand characteristics on the sustainability of collusion," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 240-246, December.
    20. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price competition; price floors; Bertrand model; experiment; salience; logit equilibrium; threats;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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