IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/esprep/253666.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Excessive Competition on Headline Prices

Author

Listed:
  • Inderst, Roman
  • Obradovits, Martin

Abstract

In a variety of purchasing situations, consumers may focus primarily on headline prices, ignoring the full costs associated with acquiring and maintaining a product or service contract. Even when this is the case, it is widely believed that intense competition would adequately protect consumers (the so-called "waterbed effect"). However, in a tractable model of imperfect competition and vertical differentiation, we show that when consumers exhibit context-dependent preferences, competition may rather exacerbate their and society's harm. Then, consumer protection policy must sufficiently constrain hidden costs and fees so that competition, along with high-quality firms' incentives to educate consumers, can restore efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2021. "Excessive Competition on Headline Prices," EconStor Preprints 253666, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:253666
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/253666/1/Shrouding_Submission_Combined_File_Sept_2021.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Neal M. Stoughton & Youchang Wu & Josef Zechner, 2011. "Intermediated Investment Management," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(3), pages 947-980, June.
    2. Simonson, Itamar, 1989. "Choice Based on Reasons: The Case of Attraction and Compromise Effects," Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Research Inc., vol. 16(2), pages 158-174, September.
    3. Miao, Chun-Hui, 2010. "Consumer myopia, standardization and aftermarket monopolization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 931-946, October.
    4. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers, 2012. "Consumer Protection and Contingent Charges," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 477-493, June.
    5. Michael D. Grubb, 2009. "Selling to Overconfident Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1770-1807, December.
    6. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Competition for Attention," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 83(2), pages 481-513.
    7. Baye, Michael R. & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G., 1992. "It takes two to tango: Equilibria in a model of sales," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 493-510, October.
    8. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
    9. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas & Joel Shapiro, 2012. "The Credit Ratings Game," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 85-112, February.
    10. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    11. Rasch, Alexander & Thöne, Miriam & Wenzel, Tobias, 2020. "Drip pricing and its regulation: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 353-370.
    12. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: Mark Armstrong & Robert Porter (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1967-2072, Elsevier.
    13. Helfrich, Magdalena & Herweg, Fabian, 2020. "Context-dependent preferences and retailing: Vertical restraints on internet sales," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    14. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2020. "Memory, Attention, and Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 135(3), pages 1399-1442.
    15. Michael D. Grubb, 2015. "Overconfident Consumers in the Marketplace," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 9-36, Fall.
    16. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2019. "Competitive Strategies when Consumers are Relative Thinkers: Implications for Pricing, Promotions, and Product Choice," EconStor Preprints 253658, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    17. Paul Heidhues & Botond K?szegi & Takeshi Murooka, 2016. "Exploitative Innovation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-23, February.
    18. Benjamin Bushong & Matthew Rabin & Joshua Schwartzstein, 2021. "A Model of Relative Thinking," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 88(1), pages 162-191.
    19. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2013. "Sales Talk, Cancellation Terms and the Role of Consumer Protection," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 80(3), pages 1002-1026.
    20. Botond Koszegi & Adam Szeidl, 2013. "A Model of Focusing in Economic Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(1), pages 53-104.
    21. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Salience and Consumer Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(5), pages 803-843.
    22. Arno Apffelstaedt & Lydia Mechtenberg, 2021. "Competition for Context-Sensitive Consumers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(5), pages 2828-2844, May.
    23. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2018. "Shrouded attributes, consumer myopia and information suppression in competitive markets," Chapters, in: Victor J. Tremblay & Elizabeth Schroeder & Carol Horton Tremblay (ed.), Handbook of Behavioral Industrial Organization, chapter 3, pages 40-74, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    24. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Neale Mahoney & Johannes Stroebel, 2014. "A Simple Framework for Estimating Consumer Benefits from Regulating Hidden Fees," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(S2), pages 239-252.
    25. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y::i:1:p:323-356. is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Markus Dertwinkel-Kalt & Katrin Köhler & Mirjam R. J. Lange & Tobias Wenzel, 2017. "Demand Shifts Due to Salience Effects: Experimental Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 626-653.
    27. Carlin, Bruce I., 2009. "Strategic price complexity in retail financial markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 278-287, March.
    28. Shilony, Yuval, 1977. "Mixed pricing in oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 373-388, April.
    29. Huber, Joel & Payne, John W & Puto, Christopher, 1982. "Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis," Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Research Inc., vol. 9(1), pages 90-98, June.
    30. Johannes Voester & Bjoern Ivens & Alexander Leischnig, 2017. "Partitioned pricing: review of the literature and directions for further research," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 879-931, October.
    31. Paul Heidhues & Botond Kőszegi & Takeshi Murooka, 2017. "Inferior Products and Profitable Deception," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 84(1), pages 323-356.
    32. Christian Michel, 2018. "Contractual structures and consumer misperceptions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 188-205, June.
    33. Azar, Ofer H., 2014. "Optimal strategy of multi-product retailers with relative thinking and reference prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 130-140.
    34. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Fungibility and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Commodity Price Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(4), pages 1449-1498.
    35. Justin P. Johnson, 2017. "Unplanned Purchases and Retail Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 931-965, March.
    36. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2022. "Loss Leading with Salient Thinkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 16946, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    37. Raj Chetty, 2009. "The Simple Economics of Salience and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 15246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Roman Inderst & Martin Obradovits, 2020. "Loss leading with salient thinkers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 51(1), pages 260-278, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Célérier, Claire & Vallée, Boris, 2016. "Catering to investors through product complexity," ESRB Working Paper Series 14, European Systemic Risk Board.
    2. Ghosh, Meenakshi, 2022. "A Note on the Regulation of Add-ons," MPRA Paper 113549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ghosh, Meenakshi, 2021. "Consumer naivete and competitive add-on pricing on platforms," MPRA Paper 109981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Köster, Mats, 2020. "Attention to online sales: The role of brand image concerns," DICE Discussion Papers 335, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Markus Dertwinkel‐Kalt & Mats Köster, 2022. "Attention to online sales: The role of brand image concerns," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 64-89, February.

    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. Michael Grubb, 2015. "Failing to Choose the Best Price: Theory, Evidence, and Policy," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(3), pages 303-340, November.
    2. Xavier Gabaix, 2017. "Behavioral Inattention," NBER Working Papers 24096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. R. Emre Aytimur, 2023. "Salience and horizontal differentiation," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 56(1), pages 60-86, February.
    4. Carroni, Elias & Mantovani, Andrea & Minniti, Antonio, 2023. "Price signaling with salient-thinking consumers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 238-253.
    5. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Köster, Mats & Peiseler, Florian, 2019. "Attention-driven demand for bonus contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-24.
    6. Nana Adrian, 2019. "Price Discrimination and Salient Thinking," Diskussionsschriften dp1906, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    7. Sule, Alan & Cemalcilar, Mehmet & Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2015. "Unshrouding Effects on Demand for a Costly Add-on: Evidence from Bank Overdrafts in Turkey," Center Discussion Papers 198558, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    8. Michael Grubb, 2015. "Behavioral Consumers in Industrial Organization: An Overview," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(3), pages 247-258, November.
    9. Markus Dertwinkel‐Kalt & Mats Köster, 2022. "Attention to online sales: The role of brand image concerns," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 64-89, February.
    10. Fabian Herweg & Antonio Rosato, 2020. "Bait and ditch: Consumer naïveté and salesforce incentives," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 97-121, January.
    11. Christian Michel, 2018. "Contractual structures and consumer misperceptions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 188-205, June.
    12. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2021. "Loss Leading as a Threat to Brands," EconStor Preprints 253667, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    13. Heidhues, Paul & Köszegi, Botond, 2018. "Behavioral Industrial Organization," CEPR Discussion Papers 12988, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2020. "Why Brand Manufacturers Should Take Loss Leading Seriously," EconStor Preprints 253663, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    15. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Salience and Consumer Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(5), pages 803-843.
    16. Michael D. Grubb, 2015. "Overconfident Consumers in the Marketplace," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 9-36, Fall.
    17. Lunn, Pete & Somerville, Jason J., 2015. "Surplus Identification with Non-Linear Returns," Papers WP522, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    18. David P. Myatt, 2019. "A Theory of Stable Price Dispersion," Economics Series Working Papers 873, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    19. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2015. "Too Much Attention on Low Prices? Loss Leading in a Model of Sales with Salient Thinkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 10813, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Helfrich, Magdalena & Herweg, Fabian, 2020. "Context-dependent preferences and retailing: Vertical restraints on internet sales," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 87(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    shrouded charges; hidden fees; price competition; shopping; salience; unshrouding;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:zbw:esprep:253666. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zbwkide.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.