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The Informational Role of Prices

We study the informational role of prices. To that end, we consider the framework of a dominant firm with a competitive fringe. When the competitive fringe is large enough, there exists a unique fully revealing equilibrium, in which the price conveys full information about the quality of the good to uninformed buyers. Deceiving the uninformed buyers by charging a high price and mimicking a high quality is not profitable when the competitive fringe is large enough. Since a higher price triggers more sales on the part of the competitive fringe, residual demand and thus profits are reduced. We also study the effect of asymmetric information and learning on the equilibrium outcomes. More uninformed buyers increases the price, reduces the quantity sold by the dominant firm, but increases the quantity sold by the competitive fringe.

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File URL: http://www.hec.ca/iea/cahiers/2008/iea0809_msantugini_v9.pdf
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Paper provided by HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 08-09.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision: Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:iea:carech:0809
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  1. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  2. Sanford J Grossman & Joseph E Stiglitz, 1997. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1908, David K. Levine.
  3. Judd, Kenneth L & Riordan, Michael H, 1994. "Price and Quality in a New Product Monopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 773-89, October.
  4. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Santanu Roy, 2007. "Signaling Quality Through Prices in an Oligopoly," Departmental Working Papers 0709, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
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