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Price Versus Quanitity: Market Cleaning Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality

  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

High-quality producers in a vertically differentiated market can reap superior profits by charging higher prices, selling greater quantities, or both. If qualities are known by consumers and production costs are constant, then having a higher quality secures the producer both higher price and higher quantity; if marginal costs are rising, having a higher quality assures only higher price. If only some consumers can discern quality but others cannot, then high- and low-quality producers may set a common price, but the high-quality producer will sell more. In this context, quality begets quantity. Empirical analyses suggest that in both the mutual fund and automobile industries, high-quality producers sell more units than their low-quality competitors, but at no higher price (or markup) per unit.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1775.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1775
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  1. Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hendricks, Darryll & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1993. " Hot Hands in Mutual Funds: Short-Run Persistence of Relative Performance, 1974-1988," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 93-130, March.
  3. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
  4. J. Jaskold Gabszewicz & Avner Shaked & John Sutton & J.F. Thisse, 1981. "Price Competition Among Differentiated Products: A Detailed Study of a Nash Equilibrium," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 37, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 1995. "Innovation and cooperation under vertical product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, March.
  6. Boom, Anette, 1995. "Asymmetric International Minimum Quality Standards and Vertical Differentiation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 101-19, March.
  7. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  8. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-54, June.
  9. Sutton, John, 1986. "Vertical Product Differentiation: Some Basic Themes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 393-98, May.
  10. Hackner, Jonas, 1994. "Collusive pricing in markets for vertically differentiated products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 155-177, June.
  11. William N. Goetzmann & Stephen J. Brown, 2005. "Performance Persistence," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm451, Yale School of Management.
  12. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  13. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  14. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  15. Brown, Keith C & Harlow, W V & Starks, Laura T, 1996. " Of Tournaments and Temptations: An Analysis of Managerial Incentives in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 85-110, March.
  16. Tufano, Peter, 1989. "Financial innovation and first-mover advantages," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-240, December.
  17. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  18. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
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