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Quality choice and behavior-based price discrimination

Hoe Sang Chung ()
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Hoe Sang Chung: Kangwon National University

Journal of Economics, 2020, vol. 131, issue 3, No 2, 223-236

Abstract: Abstract This study examines the impacts of behavior-based price discrimination (BBPD) on profits, consumer surplus, and welfare when firms choose their product qualities. To this end, we consider a differentiated duopoly model in which firms first make quality decisions, and in the two subsequent periods, compete in prices according to the pricing scheme, namely, uniform pricing or BBPD. We show that when consumers are more than moderately forward-looking, firms choose lower quality levels under BBPD than under uniform pricing. The profit and consumer surplus effects of BBPD relative to uniform pricing depend on the level of consumers’ myopia and/or quality improvement costs. When consumers are sufficiently myopic or quality costs are high, BBPD reduces industry profits and raises consumer surplus. However, the reverse happens when consumers are sufficiently forward-looking and quality costs are low. Interestingly, BBPD is detrimental to both firms and consumers when consumers are sufficiently forward-looking and quality costs are moderate, or when consumers are moderately forward-looking and quality costs are low. Social welfare is always lower under BBPD than under uniform pricing.

Keywords: Behavior-based price discrimination; Consumer myopia; Quality costs; D43; L13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s00712-020-00711-x

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