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Comparative Advertising: disclosing horizontal match information


  • Simon P. ANDERSON

    () (Department of Economics, University of Virginia)

  • Régis RENAULT

    () (THEMA, University of Cergy-Pontoise)


Improved consumer information about (symmetric) products can lead to better matching but also higher prices, so consumer surplus can go up or down, while profits rise. With enough firm asymmetry though, the stronger firm's price falls with more information, so both effects benefit consumers. This is when comparative advertising is used, against a large firm by a small one. Comparative advertising, as it imparts more information, therefore helps consumers. While it also improves profitability of the small firm, overall welfare goes down because of the large loss to the attacked firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon P. ANDERSON & Régis RENAULT, 2008. "Comparative Advertising: disclosing horizontal match information," THEMA Working Papers 2008-29, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  • Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2008-29

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, Simon P & de Palma, Andre, 2001. "Product Diversity in Asymmetric Oligopoly: Is the Quality of Consumer Goods Too Low?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 113-135, June.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-483, December.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Régis Renault, 2006. "Advertising Content," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 93-113, March.
    5. Meurer, Michael & Stahl, Dale II, 1994. "Informative advertising and product match," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, March.
    6. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
    7. Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511.
    8. Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
    9. Debora Viana Thompson & Rebecca W. Hamilton, 2006. "The Effects of Information Processing Mode on Consumers' Responses to Comparative Advertising," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 530-540, March.
    10. Shin Hyun Song, 1994. "The Burden of Proof in a Game of Persuasion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 253-264, October.
    11. Anderson, Simon P & Renault, Regis, 2000. "Consumer Information and Firm Pricing: Negative Externalities from Improved Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 721-742, August.
    12. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
    13. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
    14. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    15. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
    16. Simon P. Anderson & André De Palma, 1988. "Spatial Price Discrimination with Heterogeneous Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 573-592.
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    More about this item


    comparative advertising; information; product differentiation; quality;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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