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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. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "The Competitiveness of Markets with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 138-150, Spring.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 634-657, Winter.
  3. 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.
  4. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2010. "The value of switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 596, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 30 Oct 2012.
  5. Fabra, Natalia & García, Alfredo, 2012. "Dynamic Price Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 8849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Andrew Rhodes, 2014. "Re-examining the effects of switching costs," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 161-194, September.
  9. Tore Nilssen, 1992. "Two Kinds of Consumer Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 579-589, Winter.
  10. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2006. "Dynamic Competition with Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 37-66, 03.
  11. Taylor, Curtis R, 2003. " Supplier Surfing: Competition and Consumer Behavior in Subscription Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 223-46, Summer.
  12. 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.
  13. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Economics Working Papers 8865, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. 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.
  15. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
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