Professors Paul Heidhues and Johannes Johnen with support of Dr Michael Rauber of E.CA Economics carried out a research report for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Now the CMA has published the report that reviews the academic literature on the economic theory of the loyalty penalty. This includes both the classical theory such as switching and search costs, and behavioural theories explaining phenomena like consumer inertia.
The study aims to understand how pricing patterns can arise under differing assumptions, whether they may be considered pro- or anticompetitive and what welfare implications may arise. Moreover, the study sets out the lessons it has to offer thereby considering the pros and cons of a wide range of possible policy options ranging from direct price regulation, to intermediaries such as price comparison websites and encouraging consumers to switch.