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Asymmetric Price Effects of Competition

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  • Lach, Saul
  • Moraga-González, José-Luis

Abstract

In markets where price dispersion is prevalent the relevant question is not what happens to the price when the number of firms changes but, instead, what happens to the whole distribution of equilibrium prices. Using data from the gasoline market in the Netherlands, we find, first, that markets with a given number of competitors have price distributions that first-order stochastically dominate the corresponding price distributions in markets with one more firm. Second, the competitive response varies along the price distribution and is stronger at prices in the medium to upper part of the distribution. Finally, consumer gains from competition depend on how well informed they are and turn out to be larger for relatively attentive consumers. To account for these empirical results, we propose a generalisation of Varian's (1980) well-known model of sales that allows for richer heterogeneity in consumer price information.

Suggested Citation

  • Lach, Saul & Moraga-González, José-Luis, 2015. "Asymmetric Price Effects of Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 10456, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dieter Pennerstorfer & Philipp Schmidt-Dengler & Nicolas Schutz & Christoph R. Weiss & Biliana Yontcheva, 2015. "Information and Price Dispersion. Theory and Evidence," WIFO Working Papers 502, WIFO.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nermuth, Manfred & Pasini, Giacomo & Pin, Paolo & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2013. "The informational divide," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 21-30.
    2. Moraga-González, José Luis & Sándor, Zsolt & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2017. "Nonsequential search equilibrium with search cost heterogeneity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 392-414.
    3. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Siekmann, Manuel, 2016. "Selling gasoline as a by-product: The impact of market structure on local prices," DICE Discussion Papers 240, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. Vajanne, Laura, 2009. "Inferring market power from retail deposit interest rates in the euro area," Research Discussion Papers 27/2009, Bank of Finland.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    distribution of price information; number of competitors; price dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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