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Optimal Product Variety in a Hotelling Model

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  • Kieron Meagher

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Abstract

In Hotelling style duopoly location games the product variety (or firm locations) is typically not socially optimal. This occurs because the competitive outcome is driven by the density of consumers at the margin while the socially optimal outcome depends on the whole distribution of consumer locations/tastes. We consider a natural extension of the standard model in which firms are imperfectly informed about the distribution of consumers, in particular firms are uncertain about the consumer mean. In the uniform case, as the aggregate uncertainty about the mean becomes large relative to the dispersion of consumers about the mean, competitive locations become socially optimal. A limit result on prices for discontinuous, log-concave densities shows the result will hold in a range of cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Kieron Meagher, 2011. "Optimal Product Variety in a Hotelling Model," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2011-555, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2011-555
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp555.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lederer, Phillip J & Hurter, Arthur P, Jr, 1986. "Competition of Firms: Discriminatory Pricing and Location," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 623-640, May.
    2. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
    3. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
    4. Kieron Meagher & Klaus Zauner, 2005. "Location-then-price competition with uncertain consumer tastes," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(4), pages 799-818, June.
    5. F. Javier Casado-Izaga, 2000. "Location decisions: The role of uncertainty about consumer tastes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 31-46, February.
    6. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Ramer, Roald, 1997. "Location, Location, Location," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 102-127, November.
    7. Meagher, Kieron J. & Zauner, Klaus G., 2004. "Product differentiation and location decisions under demand uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 201-216, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibria in unidirectional spatial models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 146-149.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
    • R39 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other

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