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


  • Mark A. Satterthwaite


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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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
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