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Competition in Posted Prices With Stochastic Discounts

  • David Gill
  • John Thanassoulis

We study price competition between firms over public list or posted prices when a fraction of consumers (termed 'bargainers') can subsequently receive discounts with some probability.� Such stochastic discounts are a feature of markets in which some consumers bargain explicitly; of markets in which sellers use the marketing practice of couponing; and of markets in which sellers offer both simple-to-understand tariffs (the posted prices) alongside complex or opaque tariffs that might offer a discount.� Even though bargainers receive reductions off the posted prices, the potential to discount dampens competitive pressure in the market by reducing the incentive to undercut a rival's posted price, thus raising all prices and increasing profits.� Welfare falls because of the stochastic nature of the discounts, which generates some misallocation of products to consumers.� We also find that stochastic discounts facilitate collusion by reducing the market share that can be gained from a deviation.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/13079/paper682.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 682.

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Date of creation: 30 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:682
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  1. Joshua Gans & Catherine de Fontenay, 2004. "Vertical Integration in the Presence of Upstream Competition," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 7, Econometric Society.
  2. Bester, Helmut, 1993. "Bargaining versus Price Competition in Markets with Quality Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 278-88, March.
  3. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1980. "A Model in Which an Increase in the Number of Sellers Leads to a Higher Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1575-79, September.
  4. Camera, Gabriele & Selcuk, Cemil, 2004. "Price Dispersion with Directed Search," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1173, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Arnold, Michael A & Lippman, Steven A, 1998. "Posted Prices versus Bargaining in Markets with Asymmetric Information," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 450-57, July.
  6. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
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