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Product Differentiation, the Volume of Trade and Profits under Cournot and Bertrand Duopoly

Listed author(s):
  • David R. Collie
  • Vo Phuong Mai Le

This article analyses how product differentiation affects the volume of trade under duopoly using Shubik-Levitan demand functions rather than the Bowley demand functions used by Bernhofen (2001). The drawback of Bowley demand functions is that an increase in product differentiation increases the size of the market so the increase in the volume of trade may be the result of the increase in the size of the market rather than the increase in product differentiation per se . The Shubik-Levitan demand functions have the advantage that an increase in product differentiation does not increase the size of the market, but consumers still have a 'love of variety'. It is shown that the volume of trade in terms of quantities falls with increasing product differentiation when the trade cost is relatively low, but rises with increasing product differentiation when the trade cost is relatively high. Among the results, it is shown that the trade liberalisation is more likely to be profitable under Cournot duopoly than under Bertrand duopoly for differentiated products with a positive trade cost.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/13571516.2014.950476
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

Volume (Year): 22 (2015)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 73-86

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:22:y:2015:i:1:p:73-86
DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2014.950476
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CIJB20

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  1. Brander, James & Krugman, Paul, 1983. "A 'reciprocal dumping' model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 313-321, November.
  2. Anderson, Simon P & Donsimoni, M-P & Gabszewicz, J J, 1989. "Is International Trade Profitable to Oligopolistic Industries?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 725-733, November.
  3. Nirvikar Singh & Xavier Vives, 1984. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 546-554, Winter.
  4. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  5. Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2006. "Differentiated Duopoly with Asymmetric Costs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 999-1015, December.
  6. Dermot Leahy & J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Oligopoly And Trade," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n215-10.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  7. Roger Clarke & David Collie, 2003. "Product differentiation and the gains from trade under Bertrand duopoly," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 658-673, August.
  8. Daniel M. Bernhofen, 2001. "Product differentiation, competition, and international trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1010-1023, November.
  9. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  10. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  11. Harrigan, James, 1994. "Scale Economies and the Volume of Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 321-328, May.
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