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Prices, capacities and service quality in a congestible Bertrand duopoly

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  • Bruno De Borger

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  • Kurt Van Dender

    ()

Abstract

We study the duopolistic interaction between congestible facilities that supply perfect substitutes. Firms are assumed to make sequential decisions on capacities and prices. Since the outcomes directly affect consumers’ time cost of accessing or using a facility, the capacity sharing rule is endogenous. We study this two-stage game for different firm objectives and compare the duopoly outcomes with those under monopoly and at the social optimum. For the symmetrical duopoly outcome, our findings include the following. First, for profit maximizing firms both capacity provision and service quality are distorted under duopoly: they are below the socially optimal levels. This contrasts with the monopoly outcome, where pricing and capacity provision are such that the monopolist does provide the socially optimal level of service quality. Second, duopoly prices are lower than monopoly prices, but higher than in the social optimum. Hence, while price competition between duopolists yields benefits for consumer, capacity competition is harmful. Third, price-capacity competition implies that higher capacity costs may lead to higher profits for both facilities. Finally, if firms care about output as well as profits, this mainly affects pricing behavior; strategic interactions in capacities are much less affected. Finally, we explore the conditions under which symmetrical and asymmetrical duopoly equilibria arise and when they are stable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p221.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p221

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Cited by:
  1. Vincent A.C. van den Berg, 2012. "Auctions for Private Congestible Infrastructures," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-087/VIII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 19 Oct 2012.
  2. Vincent Van Den Berg, 2011. "The effect of private road supply on the volume/capacity ratio when firms compete Stackelberg in Road Capacity," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1203, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Ubbels, Barry & Verhoef, Erik T., 2008. "Governmental competition in road charging and capacity choice," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 174-190, March.
  4. Xiao, Feng & Yang, Hai & Han, Deren, 2007. "Competition and efficiency of private toll roads," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 292-308, March.
  5. Bruno De Borger & Fay Dunkerley & Stef Proost, 2006. "The interactin between tolls and capacity investment in serial and parallel transport networks," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0617, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  6. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Lindsey, Robin, 2007. "Maintenance, service quality and congestion pricing with competing roads," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 573-591, June.
  7. Chou, Yon-Chun & Chung, Hsien-Jung, 2009. "Service-based capacity strategy for manufacturing service duopoly of differentiated prices and lognormal random demand," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 162-175, September.
  8. Vincent A.C. van den Berg & Erik T. Verhoef, 2011. "Is the Service Quality of Private Roads too Low, too High, or just Right when Firms compete Stackelberg in Capacity?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-079/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 02 Aug 2012.
  9. De Borger Bruno & Dunkerley Fay & Proost Stef, 2006. "Strategic investment and pricing decisions in a congested transport corridor," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0602, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Energy, Transport and Environment.
  10. Van Dender, Kurt, 2007. "Determinants of fares and operating revenues at US airports," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 317-336, September.

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