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Transparency and Product Variety

  • Christian Schultz

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

We study the long run e¤ects of transparency in a circular town model of a differentiated market. The market is not fully transparent on the consumer side: A fraction of consumers are uninformed about prices. Increasing transparency reduces the equilibrium price, profit and entry of firms. This improves welfare. If consumers' transportation cost is high, it also improves the average utility of consumers. When transportation costs are very small, the fully transparent market features cut throat competition if there are several firms in the market, and if firms choose pure entry strategies only one firm enters and acts like a monopolist. Consumers therefore prefer that market transparency is as high as possible under the restriction that the market should allow entry for two firms. If firms choose mixed entry strategies, consumers prefer full transparency.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics in its series CIE Discussion Papers with number 2007-13.

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Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:2007-13
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  1. Boone, Jan & Pottersz, Jan, 2006. "Transparency and prices with imperfect substitutes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 398-404, December.
  2. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  3. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Devereux, Michael P. & Guiso, Luigi & Hassler, John & Saint-Paul, Gilles & Sinn, Hans-Werner & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Vives, Xavier, 2010. "The European economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20104, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  13. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81, January.
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  15. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Leland, Hayne, 1982. "Prices and Qualities in Markets with Costly Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 499-516, October.
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  17. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
  18. David Dranove & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1992. "Monopolistic Competition When Price and Quality are Imperfectly Observable," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 518-534, Winter.
  19. Bester, Helmut & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 1995. "Price competition and advertising in oligopoly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1075-1088, June.
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