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Bargaining and Fixed Price Offers: How Online Intermediaries are Changing New Car Transactions

Michael Arnold () and Thierry Pénard ()

No 07-03, Working Papers from University of Delaware, Department of Economics

Abstract: The Internet has introduced a variety of online buying services that expand the reach of sellers and reduce search costs for buyers. In markets in which traditional outlets establish prices through bargaining, these online intermediaries have also altered the price setting process. Perhaps the most well known example is Autobytel.com which provides referral services in the automobile market. By using Autobytel, a buyer can obtain a non-negotiable price offer as an alternative to bargaining with a car dealership. To understand the effect of online referral systems on the price setting process, we construct a theoretical model of oligopolistic price competition in which one dealership has an exclusive contract with a referral intermediary. We derive market conditions under which the fixed price offered through the referral system will or will not be lower than offline (bargained) prices. Our model provides theoretical insights relevant to results in the empirical literature addressing the role that Autobytel and other infomediaries play in online markets.

Keywords: online markets; E-commerce; intermediary; autobytel; pricing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D4 D83 L19 L89 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict, nep-mic and nep-mkt
Date: 2007-01
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Forthcoming in Review of Network Economics.

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http://graduate.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/file ... 2007/UDWP2007-03.pdf (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Bargaining and Fixed Price Offers: How Online Intermediaries are Changing New Car Transactions (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Bargaining and fixed price offers: how online intermediaries are changing new car transactions (2007)
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