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Price Discrimination Bans on Dominant Firms

By J.M.C. Bouckaert, H.A. Degryse and T. van Dijk

Abstract

Competition authorities and regulatory agencies sometimes impose pricing restrictions on firms with substantial market power — the “dominant” firms. We analyze the welfare effects of a ban on behaviour-based price discrimination in a two-period setting where the market displays a competitive and a sheltered segment. A ban on “higher-prices-to-shelteredconsumers” decreases prices in the sheltered segment, relaxes competition in the competitive segment, increases the rival’s profits, and may harm the dominant firm’s profits. We show that a ban on “higher-prices-to-sheltered-consumers” increases the dominant firm’s share of the first-period market. A ban on “lower-prices-to-rival’s-customers” decreases prices in the competitive segment, lowers the rival’s profits, and augments the consumer surplus. In particular, while second-period competition is relaxed by a ban on “lower-prices-to-rival’scustomers”, first-period competition is intensified substantially, which leads to lower prices “on-average” over the two periods. Our findings indicate that a dynamic two-period analysis may lead to conclusions opposite to those drawn from a static one-period analysis.

Publisher: Finance
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:wo.uvt.nl:358818
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