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Competition in the presence of individual demand uncertainty

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  • Marc Möller
  • Makoto Watanabe

Abstract

This paper sheds light on a recent empirical controversy about the effect of competition on price discrimination in airline markets (Borenstein and Rose (1994), Gerardi and Shapiro, (2009)). We introduce individual demand uncertainty into Hotelling’s model of horizontal product differentiation and show that in equilibrium, firms offer advance purchase discounts. Consumers trade–off an early (uninformed) purchase at a low price against a late (informed) purchase at a high price. Relative to a (multi-product) monopolist, competing firms offer larger discounts, leading to an intertemporal distribution of sales that is more skewed towards low prices. We show that whether competition has a positive or a negative effect on the Gini coefficient of price dispersion depends on the degree of product differentiation and the level of demand uncertainty.
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Suggested Citation

  • Marc Möller & Makoto Watanabe, 2016. "Competition in the presence of individual demand uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(2), pages 273-292, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:47:y:2016:i:2:p:273-292
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/rand.2016.47.issue-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabra, Natalia & Montero, Juan Pablo, 2017. "Product Choice and Price Discrimination in Markets with Search Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 12046, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Marc Möller & Makoto Watanabe, 2016. "Market Structure and Advance Selling," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-020/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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