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Consumer Information, Equilibrium Industry Price, and the Number of Sellers

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  • Mark A. Satterthwaite

Abstract

Define a reputation good to be any product or service for which sellers' products are differentiated and consumers' search among sellers consists of a series of inquiries to relatives, friends, and associates for recommendations. Examples of reputation goods are personal legal services and primary medical care. The paper shows that if a monopolistically competitive industry sells a reputation good, then an increased number of sellers may perversely cause the industry's equilibrium price to rise. This result is based on maximizing behavior on both sides of the market: consumers are assumed to search rationally and sellers are assumed to profit maximize.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1979. "Consumer Information, Equilibrium Industry Price, and the Number of Sellers," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 483-502, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:autumn:p:483-502
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