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The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies

Author

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  • Aaron S. Edlin

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research, Hoover Institution)

  • Eric R. Emch

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Several recent papers argue that price matching policies raise equilibrium prices. We add to this literature by considering potential welfare losses, which have two sources: Harberger triangles from high prices and Posner rectangles from over-entry. We compare markets with price matching and free entry to the traditional concerns of antitrust law, monopoly or cartel markets without entry. Price matching with entry leads to greater welfare losses than both monopoly and cartel in markets with a low ratio of fixed to marginal cost and low demand elasticity. We illustrate these general results using parameters from the wholesale gasoline and air travel markets, and relate our model to price matching on NASDAQ.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron S. Edlin & Eric R. Emch, 1998. "The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies," Law and Economics 9803001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 May 1998.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:9803001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
    2. Huang, Roger D. & Stoll, Hans R., 1996. "Dealer versus auction markets: A paired comparison of execution costs on NASDAQ and the NYSE," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 313-357, July.
    3. Doyle, Christopher, 1988. "Different selling strategies in Bertrand oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 387-390.
    4. Kandel, Eugene & Marx, Leslie M., 1997. "Nasdaq market structure and spread patterns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 61-89, July.
    5. Crocker, Keith J & Lyon, Thomas P, 1994. "What do Facilitating Practices Facilitate? An Empirical Investigation of Most-Favored-Nation Clauses in Natural Gas Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 297-322, October.
    6. Severin Borenstein, 1991. "Selling Costs and Switching Costs: Explaining Retail Gasoline Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 354-369, Autumn.
    7. Christie, William G & Harris, Jeffrey H & Schultz, Paul H, 1994. " Why Did NASDAQ Market Makers Stop Avoiding Odd-Eighth Quotes?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1841-1860, December.
    8. Christie William G. & Huang Roger D., 1994. "Market Structures and Liquidity: A Transactions Data Study of Exchange Listings," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 300-326, June.
    9. Corts, Kenneth S., 1995. "On the robustness of the argument that price-matching is anti-competitive," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(3-4), pages 417-421, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaplow, Louis & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Antitrust," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Pio Baake & Ulrich Schwalbe, 2013. "Price Guarantees, Consumer Search, and Hassle Costs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1335, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Arbatskaya, Maria & Hviid, Morten & Shaffer, Greg, 2004. "On the Incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 307-332, April.
    4. Subhasish Dugar & Todd Sorensen, 2006. "Hassle Costs, Price-Matching Guarantees and Price Competition: An Experiment," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 28(4), pages 359-378, June.
    5. Dewenter Ralf & Schwalbe Ulrich, 2016. "Preisgarantien im Kraftstoffmarkt," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 276-288, September.
    6. repec:eee:jouret:v:87:y:2011:i:2:p:182-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mago, Shakun Datta & Pate, Jennifer G., 2009. "An experimental examination of competitor-based price matching guarantees," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 342-360, May.
    8. Dong, Gang & Huang, Rongbing & Ng, Peggy, 2016. "Tacit collusion between two terminals of a port," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 199-211.
    9. Oliver Budzinski, 2009. "Modern Industrial Economics and Competition Policy: Open Problems and Possible Limits," Working Papers 93/09, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    10. Andreas Pollak, 2017. "Do Price-Matching Guarantees with Markups Facilitate Tacit Collusion? Theory and Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 93, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    11. F. Javier Casado-Izaga, 2000. "Welfare effects of price-matching policies in a differentiated product market," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(2), pages 487-498, May.
    12. Raskovich, Alexander, 2007. "Retail buyer power through steering," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 221-225, August.
    13. Enrique Fatas & Juan Mañez, 2007. "Are low-price promises collusion guarantees? An experimental test of price matching policies," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 59-77, March.
    14. Sridhar Moorthy & Ralph A. Winter, 2006. "Price‐matching guarantees," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 449-465, June.
    15. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 2010. "MATCHING OWN PRICES, RIVALS' PRICES OR BOTH? -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 479-506, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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