Competition in Posted Prices With Stochastic Discounts
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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