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Context-dependent preferences and retailing: Vertical restraints on internet sales

Title data

Herweg, Fabian ; Helfrich, Magdalena:
Context-dependent preferences and retailing: Vertical restraints on internet sales.
In: Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. (August 2020) Issue 87 . - No. 101556.
ISSN 2214-8043
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2020.101556

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

We provide an explanation for a frequently observed vertical restraint in e-commerce, namely that brand manufacturers partially or completely prohibit that retailers distribute their high-quality products over the internet. We assume that a consumer has context-dependent preferences in the sense that he overvalues a product attribute – quality or price – that stands out in the choice set. Our analysis reveals the following: If online competition determines the margin a retailer can charge at his brick-and-mortar store, he has no incentive to draw consumers’ attention to a product’s high quality. If however, the high-quality branded good is not available online, a retailer can charge a significant markup on it and this markup is higher if consumers focus on quality rather than price. Thus, a ban on online sales aligns a retailer’s incentive with the brand manufacturer’s interest to highlight its relative advantage, quality, and allows the manufacturer to charge a higher wholesale price. Consumer welfare and total welfare, however, are higher if distribution systems that prohibit internet sales are forbidden.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Context-dependent preferences; Decoy good; Internet competition; Relative thinking; Retailing; Selective distribution
Subject classification: D43; K21; L42
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Law, Business and Economics > Department of Economics > Chair Economics VIII: International Competition Policy
Faculties > Faculty of Law, Business and Economics > Department of Economics > Chair Economics VIII: International Competition Policy > Chair Economics VIII: International Competition Policy - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Fabian Herweg
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 330 Economics
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2020 07:36
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2020 07:36
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/59218