Non-Linear Pricing in Imperfectly Competitive Markets

Reggiani, Carlo (2009) Non-Linear Pricing in Imperfectly Competitive Markets, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Economia, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1545.
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This thesis is dedicated to the analysis of non-linear pricing in oligopoly. Non-linear pricing is a fairly predominant practice in most real markets, mostly characterized by some amount of competition. The sophistication of pricing practices has increased in the latest decades due to the technological advances that have allowed companies to gather more and more data on consumers preferences. The first essay of the thesis highlights the main characteristics of oligopolistic non-linear pricing. Non-linear pricing is a special case of price discrimination. The theory of price discrimination has to be modified in presence of oligopoly: in particular, a crucial role is played by the competitive externality that implies that product differentiation is closely related to the possibility of discriminating. The essay reviews the theory of competitive non-linear pricing by starting from its foundations, mechanism design under common agency. The different approaches to model non-linear pricing are then reviewed. In particular, the difference between price and quantity competition is highlighted. Finally, the close link between non-linear pricing and the recent developments in the theory of vertical differentiation is explored. The second essay shows how the effects of non-linear pricing are determined by the relationship between the demand and the technological structure of the market. The chapter focuses on a model in which firms supply a homogeneous product in two different sizes. Information about consumers' reservation prices is incomplete and the production technology is characterized by size economies. The model provides insights on the size of the products that one finds in the market. Four equilibrium regions are identified depending on the relative intensity of size economies with respect to consumers' evaluation of the good. Regions for which the product is supplied in a single unit or in several different sizes or in only a very large one. Both the private and social desirability of non-linear pricing varies across different equilibrium regions. The third essay considers the broadband internet market. Non discriminatory issues seem the core of the recent debate on the opportunity or not of regulating the internet. One of the main questions posed is whether the telecom companies, owning the networks constituting the internet, should be allowed to offer quality-contingent contracts to content providers. The aim of this essay is to analyze the issue through a stylized two-sided market model of the web that highlights the effects of such a discrimination over quality, prices and participation to the internet of providers and final users. An overall welfare comparison is proposed, concluding that the final effects of regulation crucially depend on both the technology and preferences of agents.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Reggiani, Carlo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
10 Giugno 2009

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