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The Competitive Effects of Advertising in the US Automobile Industry, 1970-94

  • Matthias Greuner
  • David Kamerschen
  • Peter Klein

Is advertising anticompetitive? One school of thought in industrial economics holds that advertising increases profits and reduces consumer welfare by creating spurious product differentiation and barriers to entry. Another school focuses on the informative character of advertising, claiming that advertising makes markets more competitive and reduces profits by supplying consumers with information about price and quality. We distinguish these views by examining the effect of advertising on competition in the US automobile industry. Our data include advertising, sales, profit, and market-share figures for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler over a 25-year period from 1970 to 1994.We ask if advertising increases or decreases profitability, controlling for market structure and other factors affecting demand.Wefind that these firms cannot increase their profits above normal levels by increasing their advertising expenditures. This evidence supports the view that advertising serves primarily to transmit information, not to create entry barriers.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 245-261

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:7:y:2000:i:3:p:245-261
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