An Empirical Study of National vs. Local Pricing under Multimarket Competition

Yang Li, Brett Russell Gordon, Oded Netzer

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Geographic price discrimination is generally considered beneficial to firm profitability. Firms can extract higher rents by varying prices across markets to match consumers’ preferences. This paper empirically demonstrates, however, that a firm may prefer to forego the flexibility to customize prices and instead employ a national pricing policy that fixes prices across geographic markets. Under appropriate conditions, a national pricing policy helps avoid intense local competition due to targeted prices. We examine the choice of national versus local pricing under multimarket electronics retail chain competition using extensive data from the digital camera market. We estimate a flexible model of aggregate demand that incorporates additional micro purchase moments and semi-parametric heterogeneity. Counterfactual analyses show that the major retail firms should employ a national pricing policy to maximize profits, rather than target prices in each local market. Fixing prices across markets allows the retailers to soften otherwise intense local competition by subsidizing competitive markets with profits from less competitive markets. Additional results explore how market factors could affect the pricing policy decision and assist retail managers in choosing their geographic pricing policies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages52
StatePublished - Oct 2013

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