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Strategic transfer pricing, absorption costing, and observability


Göx, Robert (2000). Strategic transfer pricing, absorption costing, and observability. Management Accounting Research, 11(3):327-348.

Abstract

This paper analyses the use of transfer pricing as a strategic device in divisionalized firms facing duopolistic price competition. When transfer prices are observable, both firms’ headquarters will charge a transfer price above the marginal cost of the intermediate product to induce their marketing managers to behave as softer competitors in the final product market. When transfer prices are not observable, strategic transfer pricing is not an equilibrium and the optimal transfer price equals the marginal cost of the intermediate product. As a strategic alternative, however, the firms can signal the use of transfer prices above marginal cost to their competitors by a publicly observable commitment to an absorption costing system. The paper identifies conditions under which the choice of absorption costing is a dominant strategy equilibrium.

Abstract

This paper analyses the use of transfer pricing as a strategic device in divisionalized firms facing duopolistic price competition. When transfer prices are observable, both firms’ headquarters will charge a transfer price above the marginal cost of the intermediate product to induce their marketing managers to behave as softer competitors in the final product market. When transfer prices are not observable, strategic transfer pricing is not an equilibrium and the optimal transfer price equals the marginal cost of the intermediate product. As a strategic alternative, however, the firms can signal the use of transfer prices above marginal cost to their competitors by a publicly observable commitment to an absorption costing system. The paper identifies conditions under which the choice of absorption costing is a dominant strategy equilibrium.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2000
Deposited On:05 Jul 2013 07:27
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 21:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1044-5005
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1006/mare.2000.0134
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:8244

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