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

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  • Sällström Matthews, S.E.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sällström Matthews, S.E., 2007. "Multi-Purpose Consumption and Functional Differentiation: Why has the Vibrant Galleria replaced the Good Old Fashioned Department Store?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0727, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0727
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
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    3. White, Lawrence J, 1977. "Market Structure and Product Varieties," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 179-182, March.
    4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    5. Donnenfeld, Shabtai & White, Lawrence J, 1990. "Quality Distortion by a Discriminating Monopolist: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 941-945, September.
    6. 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.
    7. Whinston, Michael D, 1990. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 837-859, September.
    8. 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 283-298, March.
    9. Simon P. Anderson & André De Palma & Jacques-François Thisse, 1989. "Demand for Differentiated Products, Discrete Choice Models, and the Characteristics Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 21-35.
    10. Caves, Richard E, 1984. "Economic Analysis and the Quest for Competitive Advantage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 127-132, May.
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    13. 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.
    14. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    15. Gordon, Robert J & Griliches, Zvi, 1997. "Quality Change and New Products," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 84-88, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    entry; innovation; optimum diversity; functional differentiation; bundling;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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