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The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in a Differentiated Oligopoly

  • Takanori Adachi
  • Noriaki Matsushima

This paper studies the relationship between horizontal product differentiation and the welfare effects of third-degree price discrimination in oligopoly. By deriving linear demand from a representative consumer's utility and focusing on the symmetric equilibrium of a pricing game, we characterize the conditions relating to such demand properties as substitutability and complementarity for price discrimination to improve social welfare. In particular, we show that price discrimination can improve social welfare if firms' brands are substitutes in a market where the discriminatory price is higher and complements in one where it is lower, but welfare never improves in the reverse situation. We verify, however, that consumer surplus is never improved by price discrimination; welfare improvement by price discrimination is solely due to an increase in the firms' profits. This means that there is no chance that firms suffer from a "prisoners' dilemma," that is, firms are better off by switching from uniform pricing to price discrimination.

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File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2011/DP0800.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0800.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0800
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  1. Adachi, Takanori, 2002. "A Note on 'Third-Degree Price Discrimination with Interdependent Demands.'," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 235, June.
  2. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2013. "Intertemporal Price Discrimination in Storable Goods Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2722-51, December.
  3. Holmes, Thomas J, 1989. "The Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 244-50, March.
  4. Krishnendu Ghosh Dastidar, 2006. "On Third-Degree Price Discrimination In Oligopoly," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(2), pages 231-249, 03.
  5. Neven, Damien J & Phlips, Louis, 1985. "Discriminating Oligopolists and Common Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 133-49, December.
  6. Asplund, Björn Marcus & Eriksson, Rickard & Strand, Niklas, 2002. "Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: Evidence from Swedish Newspapers," CEPR Discussion Papers 3269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ikeda, Takeshi & Toshimitsu, Tsuyoshi, 2010. "Third-degree price discrimination, quality choice, and welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 54-56, January.
  8. Simon Cowan, 2007. "The welfare effects of third-degree price discrimination with nonlinear demand functions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 419-428, 06.
  9. Cowan, Simon & Vickers, John & Aguirre Pérez, Iñaki, 2009. "Monopoly Price Discrimination and Demand Curvature," IKERLANAK 2009-39, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  10. Jerry A. Hausman & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Price Discrimination and Patent Policy," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(2), pages 253-265, Summer.
  11. Schwartz, Marius, 1990. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination and Output: Generalizing a Welfare Result," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1259-62, December.
  12. Layson, Stephen K, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination with Interdependent Demands," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 511-24, December.
  13. Liu Qihong & Serfes Konstantinos, 2011. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination," Journal of Industrial Organization Education, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-23, March.
  14. Layson, Stephen, 1988. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination, Welfare and Profits: A Geometrical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1131-32, December.
  15. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, June.
  16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521681599 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Stole, Lars A., 2007. "Price Discrimination and Competition," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  18. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
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