Product Variety and Demand Uncertainty
AbstractWe show that demand uncertainty leads to vertical product differentiation even when consumers are homogeneous. When a firm anticipates that its inventory or capacity may not be fully utilized, product variety can reduce its expected costs of excess capacity. When the firm offers a continuum of product varieties, the highest quality product has the highest profit margins but the lowest percentage margin, while the lowest quality product has the highest percentage margin but the lowest absolute margin. We derive these results in both a monopoly model and a variety of different competitive models. We conclude with a discussion of empirical predictions together with a brief discussion of supporting evidence available from marketing studies.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10594.
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Carlton, Dennis W. and James D. Dana Jr. “Product Variety and Demand Uncertainty: Why Mark-ups Vary with Quality.” Journal of Industrial Economics (2008).
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-06-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2004-06-27 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-MIC-2004-06-27 (Microeconomics)
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