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Product differentiation decisions under ambiguous consumer demand and pessimistic expectations


  • Michal Król


This paper studies product differentiation decisions in a spatial duopoly with limited information on consumer demand. In particular, a situation is discussed in which the firms do not know the exact distribution of the random location of consumer demand and its responsiveness to price changes (measured by the scale of transport costs), but resolve the resulting ambiguity using the α-maxmin or minimax regret criteria. When the firms are sufficiently pessimistic (α is high enough), results are in contrast with the existing literature. In particular, an increase of demand location uncertainty decreases the equilibrium product differentiation, intensifying the second-stage competition in prices, although the effect is dampened by uncertainty about transport costs. Endogenizing the choice of objective function leads to the dominance of an extreme form of pessimism, which turns out to be socially-optimal.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michal Król, 2011. "Product differentiation decisions under ambiguous consumer demand and pessimistic expectations," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1103, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:man:sespap:1103

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Buechel, Berno & Klein, Jan, 2014. "Do Consumers' Preferences Really Matter? - A Note on Spatial Competition with Restricted Strategies," MPRA Paper 55288, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis

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