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On the incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees

Listed author(s):
  • Maria Arbatskaya

    (Emory University)

  • Morten Hviid

    (University of Warwick)

  • Greg Shaffer

    (University of Rochester)

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.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/cie/dp/dp_1997-1999/1999-10.pdf/
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics in its series CIE Discussion Papers with number 1999-10.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: May 1999
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:1999-10
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  1. Zhiqi Chen, 1993. "How Low is a Garanteed-Lowest-Price?," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 93-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  2. Aaron S. Edlin & Eric R. Emch, 1998. "The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies," Law and Economics 9803001, EconWPA, revised 26 May 1998.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
  8. Arbatskaya, Maria, 2001. "Can low-price guarantees deter entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1387-1406, November.
  9. Crocker, K.J. & Lyon, T.P., 1993. "What Do "Facilitating Practices" Facilitates? An Empirical Investigation of Most-Favored Nation Clauses in Natural Gas Contracts," Papers 10-93-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Kaplan, Todd R., 2000. "Effective price-matching: a comment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 1291-1294, December.
  12. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
  13. 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.
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