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Price Guarantees, Consumer Search, and Hassle Costs

  • Schwalbe, Ulrich
  • Baake, Pio
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    The paper deals with the competitive effects of price guarantees in a spatial duopoly where consumers can search for lower prices but have to incur hassle costs if they want to claim a price guarantee. It is shown that symmetric equilibria with and without price guarantees exist but price guarantees will have no effect on prices if search costs are low, hassle costs are high and the number of uninformed consumers is small. However, when both firms use price guarantees, there also exist payoff-dominant equilibria where both firms use mixed pricing strategies in the form of "high-low" pricing schemes, provided that the search costs are sufficiently high.

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    Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 80023.

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    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:80023
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    1. Arbatskaya, Maria, 2001. "Can low-price guarantees deter entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1387-1406, November.
    2. Aaron S. Edlin and Eric R. Emch., 1997. "The Welfare Losses from Price Matching Policies," Economics Working Papers 97-257, University of California at Berkeley.
    3. Arbatskaya, Maria & Hviid, Morten & Shaffer, Greg, 2006. "On the use of low-price guarantees to discourage price cutting," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1139-1156, November.
    4. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, I: Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26, January.
    5. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D., 1992. "How to Sell a Pickup Truck: "Beat-or-Pay" Adverrtisements as Facilitating Devices," Papers 9-92-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    6. Subhasish Dugar, 2007. "Price-Matching Guarantees and Equilibrium Selection in a Homogenous Product Market: An Experimental Study," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 107-119, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Logan, John W. & Lutter, Randall W., 1989. "Guaranteed lowest prices: do they facilitate collusion?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-192, December.
    9. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "Hassle Costs: The Achilles' Heel of Price-Matching Guarantees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 489-521, December.
    10. Gerardo Sabater & Nikolaos Georgantzis & Enrique Fatas & Mañez Castillejo Juan, 2011. "Experimental Duopolies Under Price Guarantees," Post-Print hal-00732113, HAL.
    11. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 2012. "Optimal low-price guarantees with anchoring," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 393-417, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Wen Mao, 2005. "Price-matching policy with imperfect information," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(6), pages 367-372.
    14. Kaplan, Todd R., 2000. "Effective price-matching: a comment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 1291-1294, December.
    15. Lu, Yuanzhu & Wright, Julian, 2010. "Tacit collusion with price-matching punishments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 298-306, May.
    16. Belton, Terrence M., 1987. "A model of duopoly and meeting or beating competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 399-417.
    17. Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 2008. "Matching Own Prices, Rivals' Prices, or Both," Working Papers 08-26, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia.
    18. Edlin, Aaron S. & Emch, Eric R., 1999. "The Welfare Losses from Price-Matching Policies," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt43b7w47c, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    19. 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 307-32, April.
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