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Price Discrimination. How does someone price discriminate? Age Sex Quantity Patience (lines, express delivery) Flexibility (plane tickets) Ability or willingness to bargain Information Membership Coupons. 1st Degree Price Discrimination. AKA Perfect Price Discrimination

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price discrimination
Price Discrimination
  • How does someone price discriminate?
      • Age
      • Sex
      • Quantity
      • Patience (lines, express delivery)
      • Flexibility (plane tickets)
      • Ability or willingness to bargain
      • Information
      • Membership
      • Coupons
1st degree price discrimination
1st Degree Price Discrimination
  • AKA Perfect Price Discrimination
  • Charge each person his/her WTP
  • Allocatively efficient, no DWL
  • Extracts all of the consumer surplus
  • Difficult to implement
  • Can use a 2-part tariff
slide3

$

Supply = MC

Fixed Fee = (V-PM)/2

PM

Demand = WTP

Quantity

QM

Using a Two-Part Tariff to Price Discriminate

V

slide4

$

Supply = MC

Demand = WTP

Quantity

Even Better - From the Monopolist’s Point of View

V

Fixed Fee = (V-PC)/2

PC

QM

2nd degree price discrimination
2nd Degree Price Discrimination
  • All consumers face same price “menu”
  • Actual price paid depends on consumer’s preferences or type
  • Usually used when consumers cannot be distinguished ex ante
  • Ex: Quantity discount
3rd degree price discrimination
3rd Degree Price Discrimination
  • AKA Market Segmentation
  • Consumers separated into submarkets based on some external characteristic
  • Different prices in each submarket
  • No arbitrage between submarkets
  • Ex: Airlines
slide7

$

V

Demand of Group 1

Demand of Group 2

PM

PS

MC

Demand = WTP

MR

Quantity

QM

Market Segmentation

implementing 3rd degree price discrimination
Implementing 3rd Degree Price Discrimination
  • Must be able to identify different demand and to prevent resale/arbitrage
  • Screening: Offering different features to appeal to customers with different WTP
    • 2 model years of the same car on the same lot
    • Different passes at CW and Busch Gardens
  • Crimping: Limiting the usefulness of the product to "screen” customers
    • Prevents resale from low price to high price market
    • Shareware versions that aren't fully functional
consequences of price discrimination
Consequences of Price Discrimination
  • 1st Degree:
    • Quantity at competitive level
    • Extracts all of the potential surplus
  • 2nd Degree
    • Expands output, but not to competitive level
  • 3rd Degree = Market Segmentation
    • Doesn’t necessarily expand output, may redistribute
    • May lead to loss in total surplus
antitrust and price discrimination
Antitrust and Price Discrimination
  • 1887: Interstate Commerce Act
    • Prohibited undue discrimination in railroad rates.
  • 1914: Clayton Act
    • Price discrimination illegal if it lessens competition or tends to create a monopoly.
    • OK to discriminate based on grade, quality, or quantity.
  • 1936: Robinson-Patman Act
    • Closed the quantity loophole - no difference in price allowed when effect is to lessen competition.
illegal price discrimination
Illegal Price Discrimination
  • Primary Line
    • The firm practicing PD injures its own rivals.
  • Secondary Line
    • The injury to competition occurs in the buyers’ market.
anheuser bush case primary line discrimination
Anheuser-Bush Case: Primary Line Discrimination
  • AB dropped price of premium brand (Budweiser) in St. Louis only
  • Claim was it would hurt AB’s competitors because it would divert consumers from other brands
morton salt case secondary line discrimination
Morton Salt Case: Secondary Line Discrimination
  • Salt sold at a quantity discount
  • Only 5 customers bought at the lowest price -- all large chain stores
commodity bundling and tie in sales
Commodity Bundling and Tie-In Sales
  • Techniques used by multi-product firms to extract additional consumer surplus
  • Bundling: Selling two or more products in a single package
    • Ratio of the products is fixed
    • Example: Happy Meal
  • Tie-In Sales: Purchase of one good conditional on purchase of another
    • Ratio of the products not fixed
    • Example: Polaroid cameras
how bundling works
How Bundling Works

Two Types of TV Viewers: Series Lovers and Event Watchers

Selling products separately, maximize revenue by charging $8 for Network TV and $10 for Sports/Special Interest. Total Revenue = $36, Total Consumer Surplus = $9

Selling bundled products, maximize revenue by charging $20 for combined package. Total Revenue = $40, Total Consumer Surplus = $5

slide16

V1

Consumer A

A’s value for good 1

V2

A’s value for good 2

General Model of Commodity Bundling

Each consumer will buy at most one unit of each of two good. Consumers have different values (V) for the two goods.

slide17

c2

P2

V1

PB

PB

P1

c1

V2

PB

Firm produces goods at different constant marginal costs, c1 & c2.

Without bundling, prices are set at the monopoly level.

With “pure” bundling (can only buy the bundle) sales increase.

slide18

c2

P2

V1

PB

PB

P1

c1

V2

PB

With “mixed” bundling, consumers can buy products either separately, or together.

In both cases, PB > c1 + c2 , but PB < P1 + P2.

Therefore, although sales increase, profit may not. For profit to increase, there must be significant variation in valuations.

how tie in sales work
How Tie-In Sales Work

1. Amount of each good that must be bought is not specified.

2. Usually complementary goods.

Allows firm to price discriminate. Acts like a 2-part tariff. Everyone pays same amount for camera, but heavy users buy more film than light users, so the two groups will pay different average prices.

slide20

Tie-in sales can also be used to get rid of externalities that may exist if the goods are related.

Assume goods 1 and 2 are complements, but are produced by separate firms.

QD (Pair) = A - (P1 + P2 )

There’s an externality, because

QD (good 1) = A - (P1 + P2 ) and

QD (good 2) = A - (P1 + P2 )

slide21

Start by focusing on good 1. Assume the mkt is a monopoly.

QD (good 1) = A - (P1 + P2 )

Inverse Demand  P1 = A - P2 - Q1 TR = (A - P2 - Q1)Q1

MR1 = A - P2 - 2Q1

If MC = 0, Q1 = (A - P2 )/2 and likewise, Q2 = (A - P1 )/2

So P1 = A - P2 - (A - P2 )/2 = (A - P2 )/2

and likewise, P2 = (A - P1 )/2

Let’s graph this.

slide22

P1

A

A/2

A/3

P2

A/3

A/2 A

To solve, set the two curves equal:

P1 = (A - P2 )/2

P2 = (A - P1 )/2  P1 = A - 2 P2

(A - P2 )/2 = A - 2 P2 3/2 P2 = 1/2 A

P2 = A/3 (and by symmetry P1 = A/3 )

slide23

Now assume that 1 firm makes both goods.

QD (pair) = A - (P for the pair )

Inverse Demand  P = A - Q TR = (A - Q)Q

MR = A - 2Q

If MC = 0, Q = A/2 and thus P = A/2

So  = (A/2)A/2 = A2 /4

Compare to profit if goods priced independently.

P = 2A/3, Q = A - A/3 - A/3 = A/3,  = 2A2 /9

A2 /4 > 2A2 /9