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Switching Costs and Equilibrium Prices

  • Luis Cabral

In a competitive environment, switching costs have two effects. First, they increase the market power of a seller with locked-in customers. Second, they increase competition for new customers. I provide conditions under which switching costs decrease or increase equilibrium prices. Taken together, the suggest that, if markets are very competitive to begin with, then switching costs make them even more competitive; whereas if markets are not very competitive to begin with, then switching costs make them even less competitive. In the above statements, by "competitive" I mean a market that is close to a symmetric duopoly or one where the sellers' discount factor is very high.

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File URL: http://web-docs.stern.nyu.edu/old_web/economics/docs/workingpapers/2012/Cabral-SwitchingCostsandEquilibriumPrices_Mar2012.pdf
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Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12-04.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:12-04
Contact details of provider: Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/

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  1. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
  2. Tore Nilssen, 1992. "Two Kinds of Consumer Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 579-589, Winter.
  3. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1871, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Rhodes, Andrew, 2013. "Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 45982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1h02g9q4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  8. 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.
  9. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2006. "Dynamic Competition with Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 37-66, 03.
  10. Yongmin Chen & Jason Pearcy, 2010. "Dynamic pricing: when to entice brand switching and when to reward consumer loyalty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 674-685.
  11. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "The Competitiveness of Markets with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 138-150, Spring.
  12. Taylor, Curtis R., 2000. "Supplier Surfing: Competition and Consumer Behavior in Subscription Markets," Working Papers 00-12, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  13. Fabra, Natalia & García, Alfredo, 2012. "Dynamic Price Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 8849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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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