Do Price-Matching Guarantees with Markups Facilitate Tacit Collusion? Theory and Experiment
No 93, Working Paper Series in Economics from University of Cologne, Department of Economics
This paper studies how competitive prices are affected by price-matching guarantees allowing for markups on the lowest competing price. This new type of low-price guarantee was recently introduced in the German retail gasoline market. Using a sequential Hotelling model, we show that such guarantees, similar to perfect price-matching guarantees, can induce collusive prices. In particular, this occurs if the first mover provides a price guarantee with a markup which is below a threshold value. In these cases, prices are on average set at the monopoly level. A laboratory experiment supports the theoretical predictions.
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