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Price versus Quantity: Market Clearing Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality

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  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

High-quality producers in a vertically differentiated market can reap superior profits by charging higher prices, selling greater quantities, or both. If qualities are known by consumers and production costs are constant, then having a higher quality secures the producer both higher price and higher quantity; if marginal costs are rising, having a higher quality assures only higher price. If only some consumers can discern quality but others cannot, then high- and low-quality producers may set a common price, but the high-quality producer will sell more. In this context, quality begets quantity. Empirical analyses suggest that in both the mutual fund and automobile industries, high-quality producers sell more units than their low-quality competitors, but at no higher price (or markup) per unit.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5728.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Publication status: published as Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Vol. 17, no. 3 (December 1998): 215-243.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5728

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  1. William N. Goetzmann & Stephen J. Brown, 2005. "Performance Persistence," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm451, Yale School of Management.
  2. Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. J. Jaskold Gabszewicz & Avner Shaked & John Sutton & J.F. Thisse, 1981. "Price Competition Among Differentiated Products: A Detailed Study of a Nash Equilibrium," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 37, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
  5. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Price competition, quality and income disparities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -370, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Hendricks, Darryll & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1993. " Hot Hands in Mutual Funds: Short-Run Persistence of Relative Performance, 1974-1988," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 93-130, March.
  7. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  8. Brown, Keith C & Harlow, W V & Starks, Laura T, 1996. " Of Tournaments and Temptations: An Analysis of Managerial Incentives in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 85-110, March.
  9. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  10. Boom, Anette, 1995. "Asymmetric International Minimum Quality Standards and Vertical Differentiation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 101-19, March.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  12. Sutton, John, 1986. "Vertical Product Differentiation: Some Basic Themes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 393-98, May.
  13. Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 1995. "Innovation and cooperation under vertical product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, March.
  14. Tufano, Peter, 1989. "Financial innovation and first-mover advantages," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-240, December.
  15. Hackner, Jonas, 1994. "Collusive pricing in markets for vertically differentiated products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 155-177, June.
  16. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  17. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-54, June.
  18. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Empirical Patterns of Firm Growth and R&D Investment: A QuUality LadderModel Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 6753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gil-Bazo, Javier & Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo, 2008. "When cheaper is better: Fee determination in the market for equity mutual funds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 871-885, September.
  3. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1997. "Empirical Patters of Firm Growth and R&D Investment: A Quality Ladder Model Interpretation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1795, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.

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