nep-mkt New Economics Papers
on Marketing
Issue of 2011‒04‒02
four papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Competitive Targeted Advertising with Price Discrimination By Rosa Branca Esteves; Joana Resende
  2. Uncertain demand, consumer loss aversion, and flat-rate tariffs By Fabian Herweg; Konrad Mierendorff
  3. Repositioning Dynamics and Pricing Strategy By Ellickson, Paul B.; Misra, Sanjog; Nair, Harikesh S.
  4. Price discrimination and business-cycle risk By Marco Cornia; Kristopher S. Gerardi; Adam Hale Shapiro

  1. By: Rosa Branca Esteves (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Joana Resende (Universidade do Porto - FEP)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of price discrimination by means of targeted advertising in a duopolistic market where the distribution of consumers' preferences is discrete and where advertising plays two major roles. It is used by firms as a way to transmit relevant information to otherwise uninformed consumers, and it is used as a price discrimination device. We compare the firms' optimal marketing mix (advertising and pricing) when they adopt mass advertising/non-discrimination strategies and targeted advertising/price discrimination strategies. If firms are able to adopt targeted advertising strategies, we find that the symmetric price equilibrium is in mixed strategies, while the advertising is chosen deterministically. Our results also unveil that as long as we allow for imperfect substitutability between the goods, ?rms do not necessarily target more ads to their own market. In particular, firms' optimal marketing mix leads to higher advertising reach in the rival's market than in the firms' own market, provided that advertising costs are sufficiently low in relation to the consumer's reservation value. The comparison of the optimal marketing-mix under mass advertising strategies and targeted advertising strategies reveals that targeted advertising might constitute a tool to dampen price competition. In particular, if advertising costs are sufficiently low in relation to the value of the goods, we obtain that average prices with non-discrimination (mass advertising) are below those with price discrimination and targeted advertising (regardless of the market segment). Accordingly, when (i) goods are imperfect substitutes, (ii) advertising is not too expensive, and (iii) targeted advertising constitutes an effective price discrimination tool, price discrimination through targeted advertising may be detrimental to social welfare since it boosts industry profits at the expense of consumer surplus.
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Fabian Herweg; Konrad Mierendorff
    Abstract: We consider a model of firm pricing and consumer choice, where consumers are loss averse and uncertain about their future demand. Possibly, consumers in our model prefer a flat rate to a measured tariff, even though this choice does not minimize their expected billing amount—a behavior in line with ample empirical evidence. We solve for the profit-maximizing two-part tariff, which is a flat rate if (a) marginal costs are not too high, (b) loss aversion is intense, and (c) there are strong variations in demand. Moreover, we analyze the optimal nonlinear tariff. This tariff has a large flat part when a flat rate is optimal among the class of two-part tariffs.
    Keywords: Consumer loss aversion, flat-rate tariffs, nonlinear pricing, uncertain demand
    JEL: D11 D43 L11
    Date: 2011–03
  3. By: Ellickson, Paul B. (University of Rochester); Misra, Sanjog (University of Rochester); Nair, Harikesh S. (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We measure the revenue and cost implications to supermarkets of changing their price positioning strategy in oligopolistic downstream retail markets. Our estimates have implications for long-run market structure in the supermarket industry, and for measuring the sources of price rigidity in the economy. We exploit a unique dataset containing the price-format decisions of all supermarkets in the U.S. The data contain the format-change decisions of supermarkets in response to a large shock to their local market positions: the entry of Wal-Mart. We exploit the responses of retailers to WalMart entry to infer the cost of changing pricing-formats using a .revealed-preference. argument similar to the spirit of Bresnahan and Reiss (1991). The interaction between retailers and Wal-Mart in each market is modeled as a dynamic game. We find evidence that suggests the entry patterns of WalMart had a significant impact on the costs and incidence of switching pricing strategy. Our results add to the marketing literature on the organization of retail markets, and to a new literature that discusses implications of marketing pricing decisions for macroeconomic studies of price rigidity. More generally, our approach which incorporates long-run dynamic consequences, strategic interaction, and sunk investment costs, outlines how the paradigm of dynamic games may be used to model empirically firms' positioning decisions in Marketing.
    Date: 2011–01
  4. By: Marco Cornia; Kristopher S. Gerardi; Adam Hale Shapiro
    Abstract: A parsimonious theoretical model of second degree price discrimination suggests that the business cycle will affect the degree to which firms are able to price-discriminate between different consumer types. We analyze price dispersion in the airline industry to assess how price discrimination can expose airlines to aggregate-demand fluctuations. Performing a panel analysis on seventeen years of data covering two business cycles, we find that price dispersion is highly procyclical. Estimates show that a rise in the output gap of 1 percentage point is associated with a 1.9 percent increase in the interquartile range of the price distribution in a market. These results suggest that markups move procyclically in the airline industry, such that during booms in the cycle, firms can significantly raise the markup charged to those with a high willingness to pay. The analysis suggests that this impact on firms' ability to price-discriminate results in additional profit risk, over and above the risk that comes from variations in cost.
    Date: 2011

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