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Endogenous Product Differentiation, Market Size and Prices




Recent empirical evidence suggests that prices for many goods and services are higher in larger markets. This paper provides an explanation for this phenomenon when firms can choose how much to differentiate their products in a monopolistically competitive environment. 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. Larger markets lead to greater variety and products that are more differentiated, which provides consumers with greater welfare despite the adverse effect of product differentiation on prices. The social planner does not charge a markup, which allows it to differentiate products more than is possible in the competitive equilibrium. The model also provides an explanation for why prices do not always fall when trade is liberalized.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferguson, Shon, 2010. "Endogenous Product Differentiation, Market Size and Prices," Research Papers in Economics 2010:26, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2010_0026

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    Cited by:

    1. Irlacher, Michael, 2014. "Multi-Product Firms, Endogenous Sunk Costs, and Gains from Trade through Intra-Firm Adjustments," Discussion Papers in Economics 21023, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Lemarié, Stéphane & Parenty, Sébastien, 2016. "Research incentives and tradeoff for improving productivity of different crops," 149th Seminar, October 27-28, 2016, Rennes, France 245161, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item


    Endogenous Technology; Market Size Effect; International Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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