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A Model of Recommended Retail Prices

Author

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  • Dmitry Lubensky

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

Abstract

Manufacturers frequently use list prices, suggested retail prices, or other similar forms of non-binding public price recommendations. Despite the prevalence of this practice, why manufacturers make these recommendations and what effect they have on actual prices is still not well understood. I present a model in which price recommendations convey information to consumers about aggregate market conditions. The manufacturer uses recommendations to directly affect consumers' search decisions and thus to indirectly affect the prices set by retailers. The manufacturer faces a tradeoff when influencing search: inducing lower reservation prices reduces retailer markups but also inhibits the manufacturer's ability to extract surplus from consumers with a high willingness to pay. I show that the manufacturer can credibly provide information through cheap talk. Furthermore, I find that a ban on recommendations can be welfare reducing, harming both consumers and the manufacturer. Lastly, I argue that price recommendations are not simply a substitute for price restraints and allow the manufacturer to achieve outcomes that are not attainable with resale price maintenance alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Lubensky, 2011. "A Model of Recommended Retail Prices," Working Papers 2011-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2011-06
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    File URL: http://kelley.iu.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2011-06-lubensky.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 689-711, July/Aug..
    2. Babur De los Santos & In Kyung Kim & Dmitry Lubensky, 2013. "Do MSRPs Decrease Prices?," Working Papers 2013-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. In Kyung Kim & Vladyslav Nora, 2017. "Buyer Power and Information Disclosure," Working Papers 1707, Nazarbayev University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2018.
    2. Daniel Garcia & Jun Honda & Maarten Janssen, 2017. "The Double Diamond Paradox," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 63-99, August.
    3. Babur De los Santos & In Kyung Kim & Dmitry Lubensky, 2013. "Do MSRPs Decrease Prices?," Working Papers 2013-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    4. Lisa Bruttel, 2014. "The Effects of Non-binding Retail-price Recommendations on Consumer and Retailer Behavior," TWI Research Paper Series 93, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    5. Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2015. "Consumer Search and Double Marginalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1683-1710, June.
    6. Fabrizi, Simona & Lippert, Steffen & Puppe, Clemens & Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 2016. "Manufacturer suggested retail prices, loss aversion and competition," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 141-153.
    7. Garcia, Daniel & Janssen, Maarten, 2016. "Retail Channel Management in Consumer Search Markets," MPRA Paper 74394, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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