Competition in Posted Prices With Stochastic Discounts
University of Oxford - Department of Economics
John E. Thanassoulis
University of Warwick - Warwick Business School; Oxford-Man Institute, University of Oxford; Nuffield College, University of Oxford
January 16, 2015
Economic Journal, Forthcoming
We study price competition between firms over public list or posted prices when a fraction of consumers (termed ‘bargainers’) can subsequently receive discounts with some probability. Such stochastic discounts are a feature of markets in which some consumers bargain explicitly and of markets in which sellers use the marketing practice of couponing. Even though bargainers receive reductions off the posted prices, the potential to discount dampens competitive pressure in the market, thus raising all prices and increasing profits. Welfare falls because of the stochastic nature of the discounts, which generates some misallocation of products to consumers. We also find that stochastic discounts facilitate collusion by reducing the market share that can be gained from a deviation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: Posted prices, list prices, collusion, bargaining, negotiation, haggling, discounting, coupons, price takers.
JEL Classification: C78, D43, L13
Date posted: March 3, 2010 ; Last revised: April 24, 2015
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