Product differentiation, price discrimination and collusion
The existing literature which analyses the relationship between the product differentiation degree and the sustainability of a collusive agreement on price assumes that firms cannot price discriminate, and concludes that there is a negative relationship between the product differentiation degree and the critical discount factor. This paper, in contrast, assumes that firms are able to price discriminate. Within the Hotelling framework, three different collusive schemes are studied: perfect collusion on discriminatory prices; perfect collusion on a uniform price; collusion not to discriminate. We obtain that the critical discount factor of the first and the third collusive scheme does not depend on the product differentiation degree, while the critical discount factor of the second collusive scheme depends positively on the product differentiation degree. Moreover, we show that imperfect collusion is more difficult to sustain than perfect collusion.
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