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Location and Product Choice in Option Demand Markets

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  • Gilad Sorek

Abstract

Consumers' uncertainty regarding their future needs generates demand for options to utilize different products. Such options are commonly sold in the form of insurance. A prime example for option demand presents in health care markets and other repair markets. This work studies two-dimensional spatial competition between medical providers who choose their geographical location and medical-care specialization (i.e. product differentiation). Consumers know their geographical address but do not know their preferred medical treatment before getting sick. Providers make location and product choices and then compete by selling options to utilize their services (i.e. health insurance). I characterize two types of equilibria: one with Min-Min differentiation that is complete assimilation and the other with Min-Intermediate differentiation, in which both providers locate at the city center and product differentiation is efficient. In the first equilibrium each consumer buys insurance for one provider only and in the second all consumers are buying insurance for both providers. I further show that under regulated locations product differentiation first increases with regulated geographic distance and then it decreases. For intermediate regulated distance consumers who reside around the city center buy insurance for both providers and those at the city ends buy insurance only for the nearby provider.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilad Sorek, 2015. "Location and Product Choice in Option Demand Markets," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2015-07, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  • Handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2015-07
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    File URL: http://cla.auburn.edu/econwp/Archives/2015/2015-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Capps, Cory & Dranove, David & Satterthwaite, Mark, 2003. " Competition and Market Power in Option Demand Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 737-763, Winter.
    2. Thomas P. Lyon, 1999. "Quality Competition, Insurance, and Consumer Choice in Health Care Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 546-580, December.
    3. Giacomo Bonanno, 1987. "Location Choice, Product Proliferation and Entry Deterrence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 37-45.
    4. Tabuchi, Takatoshi, 1994. "Two-stage two-dimensional spatial competition between two firms," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 207-227, April.
    5. Irmen, Andreas & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1998. "Competition in Multi-characteristics Spaces: Hotelling Was Almost Right," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 76-102, January.
    6. Esther Gal-Or, 1997. "Exclusionary Equilibria in Health-Care Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 5-43, March.
    7. Katz Michael L, 2011. "Insurance, Consumer Choice, and the Equilibrium Price and Quality of Hospital Care," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-44, January.
    8. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sorek Gilad, 2016. "Competition and Product Choice in Option Demand Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 785-805, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Location; Product Differentiation; Option Demand;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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