Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Price Discrimination Bans on Dominant Firms

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

A new paper Price Discrimination Bans on Dominant Firms by Jan Bouckaert (University of Antwerp - Department of Economics), Hans Degryse (Tilburg University - CentER) and Theon van Dijk (affiliation unknown) suggests that static analysis will look different from dynamic analysis of price discrimination bans.

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-sheltered-consumers 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's-customers, 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.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2008/03/price-discrimin.html

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