Price Rigidity in Customer Markets
Posted: 19 Apr 2005
Customer markets are characterized by long-term relationships between buyers and sellers that evolve if buyers trust sellers to provide high quality and if sellers are trustworthy. However, changes in the terms of this implicit contract may antagonize customers and disrupt the relationship. We experimentally show that mutually beneficial long-term relationships frequently prevail in markets for experience goods and that price rigidity after a temporary cost shock is much more pronounced if price increases cannot be justified by cost increases. Hence, long-term relationships in customer markets mitigate market failure of the "lemons" type, but are prone to price stickiness.
Keywords: Customer market, price stickiness, customer loyalty
JEL Classification: C92, D43, L14, Z13
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