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Competition and regulation with product differentiation

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  • Raffaele Fiocco

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Abstract

We consider a market for differentiated products, where one good is supplied by a regulated monopolist and competitive firms operate in an unregulated segment. In this setting we investigate the issue of whether to allow the monopolist to diversify into the unregulated segment by owning a competitive firm. Under asymmetric cost information, if goods are substitutes a diversified monopolist, which exaggerates its costs in the regulated segment to charge a higher regulated price, stimulates the demand for the competitive affiliate. This strengthens the firm’s incentive to inflate costs, since doing so generates a positive informational spillover to its profits in the competitive segment. Consequently, a regime of separation, which prevents the firm from operating in the competitive segment, is welfare-enhancing. Conversely, with complements, cost exaggeration in the regulated monopoly reduces the demand and harms profits in the competitive segment, and allowing the monopolist to diversify into the competitive segment therefore generates countervailing incentives, which weaken the firm’s interest in cost manipulation and improve social welfare. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Raffaele Fiocco, 2012. "Competition and regulation with product differentiation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 287-307, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:42:y:2012:i:3:p:287-307
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-012-9195-2
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    1. Alena MyÅ¡iÄ ková & Song Song & Piotr Majer & Peter N.C. Mohr & Hauke R. Heekeren & Wolfgang K. Härdle, 2011. "Risk Patterns and Correlated Brain Activities. Multidimensional statistical analysis of fMRI data with application to risk patterns," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-085, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

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    Keywords

    Competition; Diversification; Product differentiation; Regulation; Separation; D82; L11; L51;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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