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Loss leader or low margin leader? Advertising and the degree of product differentiation

  • Witness Simbanegavi

This paper attempts to isolate the conditions that give rise to loss leader pricing. I show that for sufficiently low distance between firms, the advertised good is priced below cost irrespective of whether firms advertise the same or different products. Instead, if products are sufficiently differentiated, loss leader pricing may result only if firms advertise the low reservation value product, otherwise the advertised good is a low margin leader. Thus, whether the advertised good is a loss leader or a low margin leader is primarily a function of the extent of differentiation between competing firms.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 105.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:105
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  1. David A. Soberman, 2004. "Research Note: Additional Learning and Implications on the Role of Informative Advertising," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12), pages 1744-1750, December.
  2. Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
  3. Glenn Ellison, 2005. "A Model of Add-on Pricing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 585-637, May.
  4. Witness Simbanegavi, 2005. "Equilibrium Pricing When Only Some Goods Are Advertised," Working Papers 35, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  5. DeGraba, Patrick, 2006. "The loss leader is a turkey: Targeted discounts from multi-product competitors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 613-628, May.
  6. James D. Hess & Eitan Gerstner, 1987. "Loss Leader Pricing and Rain Check Policy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 6(4), pages 358-374.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81, January.
  8. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
  9. Joel Waldfogel & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "The Effect of Price Advertising on Prices: Evidence in the Wake of 44 Liquormart," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1081-1096, December.
  10. Benham, Lee, 1972. "The Effect of Advertising on the Price of Eyeglasses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 337-52, October.
  11. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1990. "Advertising and Coordination," Discussion Papers 903, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Butters, Gerard R, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 465-91, October.
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