Empirical Effects of Resale Price Maintenance: Evidence from Fixed Book Price Policies in the European Book Sector


This paper investigates the effects of Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) agreements in Europe by studying a legally permitted form of RPM in the book market. In particular, we study the effects of such agreements on prices and sales, finding that countries which have Fixed Book Prices policies witness higher book sales, relative to countries without such a policy, with no noticeable effect on the average price of books. We suggest that the mechanism for these findings is that FBP policies promote non-price competition and a diverse network of retailers, increasing quantity, whereas a change in bargaining power reduces double marginalisation, offsetting upward pricing pressure from RPM. While these results are limited to the book sector and are based on a limited number of countries changing policy, they nonetheless highlight that RPM agreements have the ability to confer positive competition effects and absolute prohibition of such agreements may not always be warranted.

Journal of Competition Law & Economics

A blog post summarising this paper can be found here.

Rhys J. Williams
Rhys J. Williams
PhD student in Economics

Rhys is a doctoral candidate in Economics at the University of Cambridge. His research interests are in empirical industrial organisation and related topics.