IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Returns Policies and Retail Price Competition


  • V. Padmanabhan


  • I.P.L. Png

    (National Univ. of Singapore)


We show that returns policies do increase manufacturer profitability by attenuating price competition between retailers. This effect holds only in the presence of end-user demand uncertainty. The conditions under which a returns policy raises the manufacturer's profit are weaker when retailing is a duopoly than when retailing is a monopoly. This suggests that returns policies serve both to dampen competition and resolve demand uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Padmanabhan & I.P.L. Png, 2004. "Returns Policies and Retail Price Competition," Industrial Organization 0401007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0401007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Windows-XP; pages: 15

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kandel, Eugene, 1996. "The Right to Return," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 329-356, April.
    2. Marvel, Howard P & Peck, James, 1995. "Demand Uncertainty and Returns Policies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(3), pages 691-714, August.
    3. V. Padmanabhan & I. P. L. Png, 1997. "Manufacturer's Return Policies and Retail Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(1), pages 81-94.
    4. Barry Alan Pasternack, 1985. "Optimal Pricing and Return Policies for Perishable Commodities," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(2), pages 166-176.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. James D. Dana & Kathryn Spier, 2000. "Revenue Sharing, Demand Uncertainty, and Vertical Control of Competing Firms," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1511, Econometric Society.
    2. Zhao, Yingxue & Choi, Tsan-Ming & Cheng, T.C.E. & Sethi, Suresh P. & Wang, Shouyang, 2014. "Buyback contracts with price-dependent demands: Effects of demand uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 239(3), pages 663-673.
    3. Yuyue Song & Saibal Ray & Shanling Li, 2008. "Structural Properties of Buyback Contracts for Price-Setting Newsvendors," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 10(1), pages 1-18, November.
    4. Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay & Anand A. Paul, 2010. "Equilibrium Returns Policies in the Presence of Supplier Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(5), pages 846-857, 09-10.
    5. Ohmura, Shota & Matsuo, Hirofumi, 2016. "The effect of risk aversion on distribution channel contracts: Implications for return policies," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 29-40.
    6. Gurnani, Haresh & Sharma, Arun & Grewal, Dhruv, 2010. "Optimal Returns Policy under Demand Uncertainty," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 137-147.
    7. Scott Webster & Z. Kevin Weng, 2000. "A Risk-free Perishable Item Returns Policy," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 100-106, July.
    8. Mehmet Gümüş & Saibal Ray & Shuya Yin, 2013. "Returns Policies Between Channel Partners for Durable Products," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(4), pages 622-643, July.
    9. Jeong, In-Jae, 2012. "A centralized/decentralized design of a full return contract for a risk-free manufacturer and a risk-neutral retailer under partial information sharing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 110-115.
    10. Charles E. Hyde, 2001. "What Motivates Returns Policies?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 821, The University of Melbourne.
    11. Hau L. Lee & V. Padmanabhan & Terry A. Taylor & Seungjin Whang, 2000. "Price Protection in the Personal Computer Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 467-482, April.
    12. Granot, Daniel & Yin, Shuya, 2007. "On sequential commitment in the price-dependent newsvendor model," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 939-968, March.
    13. Xuanming Su, 2009. "Consumer Returns Policies and Supply Chain Performance," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 11(4), pages 595-612, March.
    14. Yalabik, Baris & Petruzzi, Nicholas C. & Chhajed, Dilip, 2005. "An integrated product returns model with logistics and marketing coordination," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 161(1), pages 162-182, February.
    15. Hsieh, Chung-Chi & Lu, Yu-Ting, 2010. "Manufacturer's return policy in a two-stage supply chain with two risk-averse retailers and random demand," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 207(1), pages 514-523, November.
    16. Hing-Ling Lau, Amy & Lau, Hon-Shiang & Willett, Keith D., 2000. "Demand uncertainty and returns policies for a seasonal product: An alternative model," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-12, June.
    17. Steven A. Matthews & Nicola Persico, 2007. "Information Acquisition and Refunds for Returns," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    18. Daniel Granot & Shuya Yin, 2005. "On the effectiveness of returns policies in the price‐dependent newsvendor model," Naval Research Logistics (NRL), John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(8), pages 765-779, December.
    19. Fernando Bernstein & Awi Federgruen, 2005. "Decentralized Supply Chains with Competing Retailers Under Demand Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 18-29, January.
    20. Mukhopadhyay, Samar K. & Setaputra, Robert, 2007. "A dynamic model for optimal design quality and return policies," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 180(3), pages 1144-1154, August.

    More about this item


    channels; competition; returns; pricing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0401007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.