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Optimal Product Variety in a Hotelling Model

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  • Kieron Meagher

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Abstract

In Hotelling style duopoly location games the product variety (or firm locations) is typically not socially optimal. This occurs because the competitive outcome is driven by the density of consumers at the margin while the socially optimal outcome depends on the whole distribution of consumer locations/tastes. We consider a natural extension of the standard model in which firms are imperfectly informed about the distribution of consumers, in particular firms are uncertain about the consumer mean. In the uniform case, as the aggregate uncertainty about the mean becomes large relative to the dispersion of consumers about the mean, competitive locations become socially optimal. A limit result on prices for discontinuous, log-concave densities shows the result will hold in a range of cases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2011-555.

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Length: 7 Pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2011-555

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  1. Lederer, Phillip J & Hurter, Arthur P, Jr, 1986. "Competition of Firms: Discriminatory Pricing and Location," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 623-40, May.
  2. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Ramer, Roald, 1997. "Location, Location, Location," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 102-127, November.
  3. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-50, September.
  4. Meagher, Kieron J. & Zauner, Klaus G., 2004. "Product differentiation and location decisions under demand uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 201-216, August.
  5. Kieron Meagher & Klaus Zauner, 2005. "Location-then-price competition with uncertain consumer tastes," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 799-818, 06.
  6. Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 937, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. F. Javier Casado-Izaga, 2000. "Location decisions: The role of uncertainty about consumer tastes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 31-46, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibria in unidirectional spatial models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 146-149.

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