Martin Obradovits (University of Innsbruck) will present his Job Market Paper “Competition with List Prices“ on February 10th at 10 AM, room QA 406 (note the room change). One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov(email@example.com).
Retail prices in stores are often lower than widely advertised list prices. We study the competitive role of such list prices in a homogeneous product duopoly where firms first set list prices before setting possibly reduced retail prices. Building on Varian (1980), we assume that some consumers observe no prices, some observe all prices, and some only observe the more salient list prices. We show that when the latter group chooses myopically, firms’ ability to use list prices lowers average transaction prices. This effect is weakened when these consumers are rational. The possibility to use list prices facilitates collusion.