Greg Shaffer

Rendering Alternative Offerings Less Profitable with Resale Price Maintenance

When it was legal, resale price maintenance (RPM) was commonly observed on items such as aspirin, pens, pencils, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, and milk. In providing a theory that is based on compensating retailers for their opportunity cost of shelf space, and that does not hinge on the existence of externalities in nonprice competition, this article explains why a manufacturer might impose RPM on these and many other products. By contrast, the use of RPM on food, grocery, and drug store items is not easily explained by standard theories such as free riding on presale services and quality certification by high-priced retailers.