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Multi-Purpose Consumption and Functional Differentiation: Why has the Vibrant Galleria replaced the Good Old Fashioned Department Store?

  • Sällström Matthews, S.E.
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    A very striking change in product selection over the last century has been the increased degree of specialisation of durable goods. To analyse these changes this paper introduces a new form of product differentiation called functional. It is shown that when a homogeneous population demands multiple locations (rather than consumers being heterogeneous) several standard results are reversed. A monopoly has an incentive to offer excessively specialised goods and delay innovation. It is in a duopoly that product characteristics will be efficient. Entry of a third firm will be more profitable in the fringes. Furthermore entry results in too much variety. Finally, the paper presents a novel argument in favour of bundling.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe0727.pdf
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    Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0727.

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    Length: 29
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0727
    Note: Ec
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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    1. Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," NBER Working Papers 2995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
    3. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "On Hotelling's "Stability in competition"," CORE Discussion Papers RP -385, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Carbajo, Jose & de Meza, David & Seidmann, Daniel J, 1990. "A Strategic Motivation for Commodity Bundling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 283-98, March.
    5. Caves, Richard E, 1984. "Economic Analysis and the Quest for Competitive Advantage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 127-32, May.
    6. ANDERSON, Simon P. & de PALMA, André & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Demand for differentiated products, discrete choice models, and the characteristics approach," CORE Discussion Papers RP -824, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    7. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    8. Fudenberg, Drew & Gilbert, Richard & Stiglitz, Joseph & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Preemption, leapfrogging and competition in patent races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-31, June.
    9. White, Lawrence J, 1977. "Market Structure and Product Varieties," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 179-82, March.
    10. Simon P. Anderson & Andre de Palma & Jacques-Francois Thisse, 1987. "Demand for Differentiated Products," Discussion Papers 726, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    11. Gordon, Robert J & Griliches, Zvi, 1997. "Quality Change and New Products," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 84-88, May.
    12. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
    13. Donnenfeld, Shabtai & White, Lawrence J, 1990. "Quality Distortion by a Discriminating Monopolist: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 941-45, September.
    14. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    15. Ingela Alger, 1999. "Consumer Strategies Limiting the Monopolist's Power: Multiple and Joint Purchases," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 736-757, Winter.
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