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Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment

  • Klaus Conrad


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    Increasing environmental awareness may affect the pleasure of consuming a good for which an environment friendly substitute is available. In this paper, we investigate the market implication of product differentiation when customers are concerned about environmental aspects of the good. We use the spatial duopoly model to determine how environmental concern affects prices, product characteristics and market shares of the competing firms. Our analysis is based on a two-stage game, where at the first stage each firm chooses the characteristic of its product. At the second stage, each firm chooses its price. Equilibrium prices and market shares are affected by consumer awareness of the environment and by the higher costs for producing those goods. As for the Nash equilibria in the characteristics, we find three equilibria depending on the parameter constellation. In order to find out whether the market functions in an optimal way, we determine the choice of environmental characteristics by a welfare maximizing authority. The objective of the paper is to understand the environmental quality choices facing firms and to provide policies that would align private choices with the social optimum. Copyright Springer 2005

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    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental & Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (05)
    Pages: 1-19

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:1-19
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    1. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    2. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
    3. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
    4. Eriksson, Clas, 2004. "Can green consumerism replace environmental regulation?--a differentiated-products example," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 281-293, September.
    5. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
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