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

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  • Takanori Adachi
  • Noriaki Matsushima

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Takanori Adachi & Noriaki Matsushima, 2011. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in a Differentiated Oligopoly," ISER Discussion Paper 0800, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0800
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Amarjyoti Mahanta, 2016. "Contemporaneous Most-Favoured-Customer Pricing Policy vs. Price Discrimination in a Differentiated Product Duopoly Market," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(1), pages 75-83.
    2. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:339-351 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Aguirre, Iñaki, 2017. "Cournot Oligopoly, Price Discrimination and Total Output," MPRA Paper 80166, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Aguirre Iñaki, 2016. "On the Economics of the “Meeting Competition Defense” Under the Robinson–Patman Act," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 1213-1238, September.
    5. Francisco Galera & Pedro Mendi & Juan Carlos Molero, 2017. "Quality Differences, Third-Degree Price Discrimination, And Welfare," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(1), pages 339-351, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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