Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
In the first chapter of my dissertation, Aleksandr Yankelevich and I examine the effects of price matching guarantees on duopoly markets. We find that a commitment to price-match raises prices by altering consumer search behavior in three ways. First, price-matching diminishes firms’ incentives to lower prices to attract consumers who have no search costs. Second, for consumers with positive search costs, price-matching lowers the marginal benefit of search, inducing them to accept higher prices. Finally, price-matching can lead to asymmetric equilibria where one firm runs fewer sales and both firms tend to offer smaller discounts than in a symmetric equilibrium. These price increases grow with the proportion of consumers who invoke price-matching guarantees and also in the level of equilibrium asymmetry.
The second chapter studies the effect of the complexity of consumers’ preferences over a product on that product’s market structure. I relate complexity of preferences to the number of dimensions of a Lancasterian characteristic space. Using a novel higher dimensional Hotelling model, I find that a fixed number of firms are likely to be better off competing over products with more complex preferences. Although firms face more intense competition in higher dimensional markets, the greater product differentiation afforded to them allows them to charge higher prices and earn higher profits. This result provides a clear theoretical foundation for the observation that goods associated with more complex preferences typically display a greater variety of products sold. Additionally, I show that the behavior of more than two firms competing in more than one dimension differs wildly from that of firms typically studied in models of spatial competition.
The final chapter will examine firms' motives for implementing grandfather clauses that allow certain consumers to continue to access a service at a favorable, but no longer available price. Grandfather clauses permit firms to price discriminate between early adopters and new consumers in exchange for forfeiting the right to optimally set prices for early adopters. They may be used to thwart competition following a structural change, to respond to cost shocks, or to retain customers who consume another good from a multiproduct firm. We analyze under what conditions firms might choose to offer grandfather clauses and what effects they have on welfare.
Chair and Committee
Mariagiovanna Baccara, John Nachbar, Jonathan Weinstein, Paulo Natenzon,
Vaughan, Brady Thomas, "Essays on Firm Strategies and Market Outcomes" (2015). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 584.