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On the incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Arbatskaya

    (Emory University)

  • Morten Hviid

    (University of Warwick)

  • Greg Shaffer

    (University of Rochester)

Abstract

We provide evidence of the widespread use and variety of low-price guarantees (how common are they; on what products and services are they observed; and what forms do they take), using data obtained from newspaper advertisements in thirty-seven metropolitan areas in the United States. We also consider why firms adopt LPGs. Is it to facilitate tacit collusion, to price discriminate, or do firms have other motivations? Do price-beating guarantees serve the same purpose as price-matching guarantees? We infer the answers to these questions from (a) the extent to which firms place restrictions on their LPGs; (b) whether LPGs apply to advertised prices or actual selling prices, and (c) whether firms with LPGs have higher or lower prices than firms without LPGs. We also uncover aspects of LPGs that have not previously been studied, e.g., 43% of LPGs allow post-sale search. Our findings suggest topics for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Arbatskaya & Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "On the incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees," CIE Discussion Papers 1999-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:1999-10
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/cie/dp/dp_1997-1999/1999-10.pdf/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhiqi Chen, 1995. "How Low Is a Guaranteed-Lowest-Price?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 683-701, August.
    2. Corts, Kenneth S., 1997. "On the competitive effects of price-matching policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 283-299, May.
    3. Baye, Michael R. & Kovenock, Dan, 1994. "How to sell a pickup truck : 'Beat-or-pay' advertisements as facilitating devices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 21-33, March.
    4. Kaplan, Todd R., 2000. "Effective price-matching: a comment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 1291-1294, December.
    5. Png, I P L & Hirshleifer, D, 1987. "Price Discrimination through Offers to Match Price," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(3), pages 365-383, July.
    6. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
    7. Edlin, Aaron S. & Emch, Eric R., 1999. "The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt43b7w47c, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    8. Crocker, Keith J & Lyon, Thomas P, 1994. "What do Facilitating Practices Facilitate? An Empirical Investigation of Most-Favored-Nation Clauses in Natural Gas Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 297-322, October.
    9. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "Hassle Costs: The Achilles' Heel of Price-Matching Guarantees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 489-521, December.
    10. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
    11. Edlin, Aaron S & Emch, Eric R, 1999. "The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 145-167, June.
    12. Corts, Kenneth S., 1995. "On the robustness of the argument that price-matching is anti-competitive," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(3-4), pages 417-421, March.
    13. Arbatskaya, Maria, 2001. "Can low-price guarantees deter entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1387-1406, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    facilitating practices; low-price guarantees; collusion;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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