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Add-On Pricing: Theory and Evidence From the Cruise Industry

Listed author(s):
  • Marco Savioli

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Lorenzo Zirulia

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; CRIOS, Bocconi University, Italy; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

In many industries, firms give consumers the opportunity to add (at a price) optional goods and services to a baseline product. The aim of our paper is to provide a theoretical model of add-on pricing in competitive environments with two new distinctive features. First, we discuss the choice of offering the add-on, assuming that this entails a fixed cost. Second, we allow firms to have a varying degree of market power over the add-on, associated with the ability to capture the value that consumers obtain from such an additional good/service. Our model shows that the conventional wisdom, according to which offering the add-on should unambiguously lower the price of the baseline product, is not always supported. In asymmetric equilibria, in which only one firm offers the add-on, baseline prices are higher if the firm’s market power over the add-on is limited. The predictions of the model are confirmed by a hedonic price model on a dataset of cruises offered worldwide.

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File URL: http://www.rcea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp15-26.pdf
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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 15-26.

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Date of creation: Jul 2015
Date of revision: May 2016
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:15-26
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  1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  2. Spiegler, Ran, 2014. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199334261.
  3. Severin Borenstein & Jeffrey K. Mackie-Mason & Janet S. Netz, 2000. "Exercising Market Power in Proprietary Aftermarkets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 157-188, 06.
  4. Glenn Ellison, 2005. "A Model of Add-On Pricing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 585-637.
  5. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
  6. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-370, July.
  7. KalaycI, Kenan & Potters, Jan, 2011. "Buyer confusion and market prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 14-22, January.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  9. Verboven, Frank, 1999. "Product Line Rivalry and Market Segmentation--With an Application to Automobile Optional Engine Pricing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 399-425, December.
  10. Zenger, Hans, 2013. "Why firms’ exploitation of consumer myopia may benefit myopic consumers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 307-309.
  11. Wenzel, Tobias, 2014. "Consumer myopia, competition and the incentives to unshroud add-on information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 89-96.
  12. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, 03.
  13. Jennifer Brown & Tanjim Hossain & John Morgan, 2010. "Shrouded Attributes and Information Suppression: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 859-876.
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