Suggested Retail Prices with Downstream Competition
22 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 16, 2012
We analyze vertical relationships between a manufacturer and competing retailers when consumers have reference-dependent preferences. Consumers adopt the manufacturer’s suggested retail price as their reference price and perceive losses when purchasing above the suggested price and gains when purchasing below it. In equilibrium, retailers undercut price suggestions and the manufacturer suggests a retail price if consumers are sufficiently bargain-loving and perceive retailers as sufficiently undifferentiated. The manufacturer engages in resale price maintenance otherwise. Consumers can be worse off with suggested retail prices than with resale price maintenance, prompting a rethinking of the current legal treatment of suggested retail prices.
Keywords: suggested or recommended retail prices, resale price maintenance, reference-dependent preferences, vertical restraints, competition law and policy
JEL Classification: D03, D43, K21, L42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation