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Switching Costs, Firm Size, and Market Structure


Loertscher, Simon; Schneider, Yves (2005). Switching Costs, Firm Size, and Market Structure. Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute No. 508, University of Zurich.

Abstract

In many markets, homogenous goods and services are sold both by large global frms and small local frms. Surprisingly, the large frms charge, often substantially, higher prices. Examples include hotels, airlines, and coffee shops. This paper provides a parsimonious model that can account for these pricing patterns. In this model, consumers face costs when switching from one supplier to another and consumers change locations with a given positive probability. Consequently, large frms or "chain stores" insure consumers against this switching cost. The model predicts that chain stores and local stores coexist in equilibrium and that chain stores charge higher prices and yet attract more consumers than local stores. As consumer mobility increases, the profits of both local stores and chain stores increase, but the chain stores' profts increase at a faster rate.

Abstract

In many markets, homogenous goods and services are sold both by large global frms and small local frms. Surprisingly, the large frms charge, often substantially, higher prices. Examples include hotels, airlines, and coffee shops. This paper provides a parsimonious model that can account for these pricing patterns. In this model, consumers face costs when switching from one supplier to another and consumers change locations with a given positive probability. Consequently, large frms or "chain stores" insure consumers against this switching cost. The model predicts that chain stores and local stores coexist in equilibrium and that chain stores charge higher prices and yet attract more consumers than local stores. As consumer mobility increases, the profits of both local stores and chain stores increase, but the chain stores' profts increase at a faster rate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Socioeconomic Institute (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D43, L15
Language:English
Date:August 2005
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:32
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 10:12
Series Name:Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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