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The market for melons: Cournot competition with unobservable qualities

Author

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  • Argenton, Cédric

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

Two firms produce different qualities at possibly different, constant marginal costs. They compete in quantities on a market where buyers only observe the average quality supplied. The model is a generalization of the standard Cournot duopoly, which corresponds to the special case where the two qualities are equal. When the quality differential is large, the firms' output levels are not always strategic substitutes. There can be no, or up to three pure-strategy equilibria. Yet, as long as the cost differential is not extreme, there always exists a stable duopolistic equilibrium. In that sense, strategic quantity-setting helps prevent market unraveling.

Suggested Citation

  • Argenton, Cédric, 2005. "The market for melons: Cournot competition with unobservable qualities," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 617, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 May 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0617
    as

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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0617.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nirvikar Singh & Xavier Vives, 1984. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 546-554, Winter.
    2. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, May.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    4. Vives, Xavier, 1985. "On the efficiency of Bertrand and Cournot equilibria with product differentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 166-175, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cournot competition; quality; duopoly; asymmetric information; Nash equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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