Signaling Quality through Prices in an Oligopoly
AbstractFirms signal high quality through high prices even if the market structure is highly competitive and price competition is severe. In a symmetric Bertrand oligopoly where products may differ only in their quality, production cost is increasing in quality and the quality of each firm’s product is private information (not known to consumers or to other firms), we show that there exist fully revealing equilibria in mixed strategies. In such equilibria, low quality firms enjoy market power when other firms are of high quality. High quality firms charge higher prices than low quality firms but lose business to rival firms with higher probability. Some of the revealing equilibria involve high degree of market power (price close to full information monopoly level) while others are more “competitive”. Under certain conditions, if the number of firms is large enough, information is revealed in every equilibrium.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 07-081/1.
Date of creation: 22 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl
Signaling; Quality; Oligopoly; Incomplete Information;
Other versions of this item:
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2008-02-23 (Business Economics)
- NEP-COM-2008-02-23 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-CTA-2008-02-23 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-IND-2008-02-23 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-MIC-2008-02-23 (Microeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jennifer F. Reinganum & Andrew F. Daughety, 2004.
"Secrecy and Safety,"
Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings
53, Econometric Society.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2003. "Secrecy and Safety," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0317, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Sep 2003.
- Andrew Daughety & Jennifer Reinganum, . "Secrecy and Safety," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1039, American Law & Economics Association.
- M Ali Khan, 2007.
Microeconomics Working Papers
22207, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
- Fershtman, Chaim, 1982. "Price dispersion in oligopoly," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 389-401, December.
- Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
- Eric Rasmusen, 1996.
"Bertrand Competition Under Uncertainty,"
- Maarten C.W. Janssen & Eric Rasmusen, 1998. "Bertrand Competition under Uncertainty," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-083/1, Tinbergen Institute.
- Maarten Janssen & Eric Rasmusen, 2001. "Bertrand Competition Under Uncertainty," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-117, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
- Maarten Janssen & Eric Rasmusen, 2000. "Bertrand Competition Under Uncertainty," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1309, Econometric Society.
- Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2005.
"Imperfect Competition and Quality Signaling,"
Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers
0520, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
- Bagwell, Kyle, 1992.
"Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality,"
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 151-74, Spring.
- Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
- David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
- Fluet, Claude & Garella, Paolo G., 2002.
"Advertising and prices as signals of quality in a regime of price rivalry,"
International Journal of Industrial Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 907-930, September.
- Claude Fluet & Paolo G. Garella, 1999. "Advertising and Prices as Signals of Quality in a Regime of Price Rivalry," Cahiers de recherche du DÃ©partement des sciences Ã©conomiques, UQAM 9903, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
- Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1978.
"A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion,"
335, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1986.
"Price competition in a capacity-constrained duopoly,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-260, April.
- Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1983. "Price Competition in a Capacity-Constrained Duopoly," Working Papers 83-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Mark N. Herzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Prices as Signals of Quality in Duopoly," CIE Discussion Papers 2001-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
- Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Optimal Pricing of Experience Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 497-507, Autumn.
- Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
- Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
- Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
- Spulber, Daniel F, 1995. "Bertrand Competition When Rivals' Costs Are Unknown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-11, March.
- In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997.
"Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
896, David K. Levine.
- Wolinsky, Asher, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 647-58, October.
- Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991.
"High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
- Dirk Bergemann & Juuso VÃ¤limÃ¤ki, 2006. "Dynamic Pricing of New Experience Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 713-743, August.
- Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
- Bester, Helmut & Demuth, Juri, 2011.
"Signalling rivalry and quality uncertainty in a duopoly,"
2011/20, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
- Bester, Helmut & Demuth, Juri, 2013. "Signalling Rivalry and Quality Uncertainty in a Duopoly," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 400, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
- Garcia, Daniel, 2014. "Branding and Collusion in Vertically Differentiated Industries," MPRA Paper 54010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Leonard J. Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2008. "The Informational Role of Prices," Cahiers de recherche 08-09, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée, revised Apr 2014.
- Bontems, Philippe & Mahenc, Philippe, 2014. "Signaling quality in vertical relationships," IDEI Working Papers 819, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Leonard J. Mirman & Egas Salgueiro & Marc Santugini, 2011.
"Noisy Signaling in Monopoly,"
Cahiers de recherche
11-03, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée, revised May 2013.
- Wassim DAHER & Leonard J. MIRMAN & Marc Santugini, 2009.
"Information in Cournot: Signaling with Incomplete Control,"
Cahiers de recherche
09-09, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée, revised Nov 2011.
- Daher, Wassim & Mirman, Leonard J. & Santugini, Marc, 2012. "Information in Cournot: Signaling with incomplete control," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 361-370.
- Buehler, B. & Schuett, F., 2012. "Certification and Minimum Quality Standards when Some Consumers are Uninformed," Discussion Paper 2012-040, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
- Aditi Sengupta, 2012. "Competitive Investment in Clean Technology and Uninformed Green Consumers," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2012-08, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
- Aditi Sengupta, 2010. "Signaling environmental quality to green consumers and the incentive to invest in cleaner technology: Effect of environmental regulation," Departmental Working Papers 1001, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
- Dubovik, Andrei & Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2012.
"Oligopolistic competition in price and quality,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 120-138.
- Bontems, Philippe & Mahenc, Philippe, 2014. "Signaling quality in vertical relationships," TSE Working Papers 14-467, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Eric Schmidbauer, 2013. "New and Improved?," Working Papers 2013-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Catherine Gendron-Saulnier & Marc Santugini, 2013. "The Informational Benefit of Being Discriminated," Cahiers de recherche 13-02, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
- Leonard J. Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2011. "The Simple Analytics of Price Signaling Quality," Cahiers de recherche 11-04, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
- Maarten C. W. Janssen & Mariya Teteryanikova, 2012. "Horizontal Product Differentiation: Disclosure and Competition," Vienna Economics Papers 1205, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
- Maarten Janssen & Alexei Parakhonyak & Anastasia Parakhonyak, 2014. "Non-reservation price equilibria and Consumer search," HSE Working papers WP BRP 51/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
- Slađana Pavlinović, 2013. "Signalling Green Technology Through Price And Eco-Label," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 6, pages 87-94, December.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2011. "Economic Analysis of Products Liability: Theory," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1107, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Antoine Maartens (+31 626 - 160 892)).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.