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Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs

  • Rhodes, Andrew

Consumers often incur costs when switching from one product to another. Recently there has been renewed debate within the literature about whether these switching costs lead to higher prices. We build a theoretical model of dynamic competition and solve it analytically for a wide range of switching costs. We provide a simple condition which determines whether switching costs raise or lower long-run prices. We also show that switching costs are more likely to increase prices in the short-run. Finally switching costs redistribute surplus across time, and as such are shown to sometimes increase consumer welfare.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/45982/1/MPRA_paper_45982.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 45982.

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Date of creation: 08 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:45982
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  1. Viard, V. Brian, 2005. "Do Switching Costs Make Markets More or Less Competitive? The Case of 800-Number Portability," Research Papers 1773r3, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Jean-Pierre Dubé & Günter J. Hitsch & Peter E. Rossi, 2010. "State dependence and alternative explanations for consumer inertia," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 417-445.
  3. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  4. Jan Bouckaert & Hans Degryse & Thomas Provoost, 2008. "Enhancing Market Power by Reducing Switching Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 2449, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Rhodes, Andrew, 2013. "Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 45982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Toker Doganoglu, 2010. "Switching costs, experience goods and dynamic price competition," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-205, June.
  7. Paulo Somaini & Liran Einav, 2013. "A Model of Market Power in Customer Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 938-986, December.
  8. Chen, Yongmin & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1996. "Dynamic duopoly with slowly changing customer loyalties," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 269-296, May.
  9. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "The Competitiveness of Markets with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 138-150, Spring.
  10. Jason Pearcy, 2009. "Bargains Followed by Bargains: When Switching Costs Make Markets More Competitive," Working Papers 1004, Montana State University, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, revised 07 Jul 2015.
  11. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "The value of switching costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 935-952.
  12. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1871, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Shy, Oz, 2002. "A quick-and-easy method for estimating switching costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 71-87, January.
  14. Anderson, Eric T. & Kumar, Nanda & Rajiv, Surendra, 2004. "A comment on: "Revisiting dynamic duopoly with consumer switching costs"," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 177-186, May.
  15. Monica Giulietti & Catherine Waddams Price & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Consumer Choice and Competition Policy: a Study of UK Energy Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 949-968, October.
  16. To, Theodore, 1996. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs: An Overlapping Generations Formulation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 81-87, March.
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