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Endogenous Product Differentiation, Market Size and Prices

Recent empirical evidence suggests that prices for some goods and services are higher in larger markets. This paper provides a demand-side explanation for this phenomenon when firms can choose how much to differentiate their products in a model of monopolistic competition with horizontal product differentiation. The model proposes that consumers’ love of variety makes them more sensitive to product differentiation efforts by firms, which leads to higher prices in larger markets. At the same time, endogenous product differentiation modeled in this way can lead to a positive and concave relationship between market size and entry.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 878.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 12 Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0878
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  1. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
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  9. Ekholm, Karolina & Midelfart, Karen Helene, 2005. "Relative wages and trade-induced changes in technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1637-1663, August.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra, 2006. "New Evidence on the Gains from Trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(4), pages 617-641, December.
  11. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  12. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  13. Amir, Rabah & Lambson, Val E, 2000. "On the Effects of Entry in Cournot Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 235-54, April.
  14. Chad Syverson, 2001. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Working Papers 01-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Yunker, James A., 1979. "Variety, equity and efficiency: Product variety in an industrial society : By Kelvin Lancaster. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979. Pp. 373, Price: $22.50," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 195-197.
  16. Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Yoshida, Atsushi, 2000. "Separating Urban Agglomeration Economies in Consumption and Production," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 70-84, July.
  17. Harald Badinger, 2007. "Has the EU’s Single Market Programme Fostered Competition? Testing for a Decrese in Markup Rations in EU Industries," Working Papers 135, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  18. Paula Bustos, 2011. "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Skill Upgrading Evidence from Argentina," Working Papers 559, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  19. Lorz Oliver & Wrede Matthias, 2009. "Trade and Variety in a Model of Endogenous Product Differentiation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-14, November.
  20. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  21. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  22. Amit Khandelwal, 2007. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," 2007 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  23. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Competition and Product Variety," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages S79-103, July.
  24. Helble, Matthias & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2008. "Heterogeneous quality firms and trade costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4550, The World Bank.
  25. Markusen, James R & Venables, Anthony J, 1997. "The Role of Multinational Firms in the Wage-Gap Debate," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(4), pages 435-51, November.
  26. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1996. "Taste for variety and optimum production patterns in monopolistic competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 41-47, July.
  27. Steven Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 2010. "PRODUCT QUALITY AND MARKET SIZE -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 1-31, 03.
  28. Michael W.M. Roos, 2003. "Regional price levels in Germany," ERSA conference papers ersa03p511, European Regional Science Association.
  29. Yongmin Chen & Michael H. Riordan, 2007. "Price and Variety in the Spokes Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 897-921, 07.
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