DP2449 | Barter For Price Discrimination?

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)


Unprecendented growth of barter is a striking phenomenon of Russia's transition. The explanations of barter include tight monetary policy, tax evasion and poor financial intermediation. We show that the market power may also be important. We build a model of imperfect competition in which firms use barter for price discrimination. The model predicts a positive relationship between the concentration of market power and the share of barter in sales. We also show that barter disappears at a certain level of competition. The model has multiple stable equilibria which may explain persistence of barter. Using a unique dataset on barter transactions in Russia, we show that empirical evidence is consistent with the model's predictions.TEST