Niche products, generic products, and consumer search
AbstractWe endogenize product differentiation in a model of sequential search with random firm-consumer match value à la Wolinsky (1986) and Anderson and Renault (1999). We focus on a product design choice by which a firm can control the dispersion of consumer valuations for its product; we interpret low dispersion products as ‘generic’ and high dispersion products as ‘nichy.’ Equilibrium product design depends on a feedback loop: when reservation utility is high (low), the marginal customer’s match improves (worsens) with more nichy products, encouraging high (low) differentiation by firms. In turn, when firms offer more nichy products, this induces more intense search; depending on search costs, this could raise or lower consumers’ reservation utility. Remarkably, when the match distribution satisfies a hazard rate condition, firm and consumer interests align: equilibrium product design always adjusts to the level that maximizes utility. When this condition is not met, either multiple equilibria (one nichy, the other generic) or one asymmetric equilibrium (generic and nichy firms coexist) can arise; we argue that the former is more likely for common specifications of consumer preferences.
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 University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32161.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision: 2011
product differentiation; product design; search;
Other versions of this item:
- Nathan Larson, 2013. "Niche products, generic products, and consumer search," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 793-832, March.
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
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.:
- Perloff, Jeffrey M & Salop, Steven C, 1985.
"Equilibrium with Product Differentiation,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 107-20, January.
- Perloff, Jeffrey M & Salop, Steven, 1984. "Equilibrium with product differentiation," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4cq0m6s3, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Maria Arbatskaya, 2007. "Ordered search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 119-126, 03.
- Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000.
"Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers,"
INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
- Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
- d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, .
"On Hotelling's "Stability in competition","
CORE Discussion Papers RP
-385, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2008.
"Prominence and Consumer Search,"
Economics Series Working Papers
379, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Ali Hortaç Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
- Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991.
"Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium,"
Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
- Caplin, A. & Nalebuff, B., 1989. "Aggregation And Imperfect Competition: On The Existence Of Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 1989_30, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Anderson, Simon P & Renault, Régis, 2005.
CEPR Discussion Papers
5064, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Marco A. Haan & Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2009.
"Advertising for Attention in a Consumer Search Model,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
09-031/1, Tinbergen Institute.
- Marco A. Haan & José L. Moraga‐González, 2011. "Advertising for Attention in a Consumer Search Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 552-579, 05.
- Haan, Marco A. & Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L., 2009. "Advertising for attention in a consumer search model," IESE Research Papers D/794, IESE Business School.
- Wolinsky, Asher, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511, August.
- Steven Lippman & Sheldon Ross, 2008. "Variability is beneficial in marked stopping problems," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 333-342, May.
- Anderson, S.P. & Renault, R., 1997.
"Pricing, Product Diversity and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model,"
97.481, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, product diversity, and search costs: a Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond model," Virginia Economics Online Papers 335, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004.
"On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design,"
Economics Series Working Papers
185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2006. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 756-784, June.
- Gérard P. Cachon & Christian Terwiesch & Yi Xu, 2008. "On the Effects of Consumer Search and Firm Entry in a Multiproduct Competitive Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(3), pages 461-473, 05-06.
- Christou, C. & Vettas, N., 2008. "On informative advertising and product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 92-112, January.
- Dmitri Kuksov, 2004. "Buyer Search Costs and Endogenous Product Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 490-499, May.
- Butters, Gerard R, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 465-91, October.
- Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005.
"Log-concave probability and its applications,"
Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, 08.
- Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cunat, 2012.
"Search, Design, and Market Structure,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1140-60, April.
- S. Nuray Akin & Brennan Platt, 2012.
"A theory of search with deadlines and uncertain recall,"
2012-3, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
- Ş. Akın & Brennan Platt, 2014. "A theory of search with deadlines and uncertain recall," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 101-133, January.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.