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Price discrimination via the choice of distribution channels

This article studies the use of different distribution channels as an instrument of price discrimination in credence goods markets. In credence goods markets, where consumers do not know which quality of the good or service they need, price discrimination proceeds along the dimension of quality of advice offered. High quality advice and appropriate treatment is provided to the most profitable market segment only. Less profitable consumers are induced to demand a treatment without a serious diagnosis. If consumers differ in the probabilities of needing different treatments some consumers are potentially overtreated. By contrast, under heterogeneity in the valuations of a successful intervention some consumers are potentially undertreated. Our results help to explain the casual observation that in the early phase of the IT industry only low quality equipment was distributed via warehouse sellers while today it is quite common to see high quality equipment at discounters.

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File URL: http://www.econ.jku.at/papers/2005/wp0508.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2005-08.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2005_08
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Web page: http://www.econ.jku.at/

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  1. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  2. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  3. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "The Economics of Breakdowns, Checkups, and Cures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 53-74, February.
  4. GABSZEWICZ, Jean & WAUTHY, Xavier, . "Quality underprovision by a monopolist when quality is not costly," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1573, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2000. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Discussion Papers 1306, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Emons, Winand, 1997. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9c5508x4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  7. Asher Wolinsky, 1991. "Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services," Discussion Papers 959, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  9. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
  10. Acharyya, Rajat, 1998. "Monopoly and product quality: Separating or pooling menu?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 187-194, November.
  11. Carolyn Pitchik & Andrew Schotter, 1993. "Information Transmission in Regulated Markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 815-29, November.
  12. Howard P. Marvel & Stephen McCafferty, 1984. "Resale Price Maintenance and Quality Certification," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 346-359, Autumn.
  13. Uwe Dulleck, 2000. "Where Are The Problems with Credence Goods?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1441, Econometric Society.
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