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Effects of Increased Variety on Demand, Pricing, and Welfare

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We use order statistics to analytically derive demand functions when consumers choose from among the varieties of two brands—such as Coke and Pepsi—and an outside good. Soft-drinks have no price variability across varieties within a brand, so traditional demand systems (e.g., mixed logit) are not identified. In contrast, our demand system is identified and can be estimated using a nonlinear instrumental variable estimator. Our demand functions are higher-order polynomials, where the polynomial order is increasing in variety. Because these demand curves have convex and concave sections around an inflection point, firms are more likely to respond and make large price adjustments to increases in cost than to comparable decreases in costs. We compare the profit-maximizing number of varieties within a grocery store to the socially optimal number and find that consumer surplus and welfare would increase with more variety. Key Words: Varieties, Product Line, Consumer Surplus, Welfare, Demand, Order Statistics JEL No. L11, L66, D11

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 152.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:152
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  1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
  2. Jeffrey M. Perloff & Steven C. Salop, 1985. "Equilibrium with Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 107-120.
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  4. Golan, Amos & Karp, Larry S & Perloff, Jeffrey M, 2000. "Estimating Coke's and Pepsi's Price and Advertising Strategies," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 18(4), pages 398-409, October.
  5. Tat Y. Chan, 2006. "Estimating a continuous hedonic‐choice model with an application to demand for soft drinks," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 466-482, 06.
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  7. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2004. "Communication Strategies and Product Line Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(3), pages 304-316, January.
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  9. Botond Kőszegi & Paul Heidhues, 2008. "Competition and Price Variation When Consumers Are Loss Averse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1245-1268, September.
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  12. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  13. Dharmasena, Senarath & Capps, Oral, Jr., 2009. "Demand Interrelationships of At-Home Nonalcoholic Beverage Consumption in the United States," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49443, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  14. Raymond Deneckere & Michael Rothschild, 1992. "Monopolistic Competition and Preference Diversity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 361-373.
  15. Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Equilibrium Product Lines: Competing Head-to-Head May Be Less Competitive," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 740-755, September.
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  17. Dhar, Tirtha & Chavas, Jean- Paul & Cotterill, Ronald W. & Gould, Brian W., 2005. "An Economic Analysis of Brand-Level Strategic Pricing Between Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi," Working Papers 201538, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Food System Research Group.
  18. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:466-482 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Gasmi, F & Laffont, J J & Vuong, Q, 1992. "Econometric Analysis of Collusive Behavior in a Soft-Drink Market," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 277-311, Summer.
  20. Tirtha Dhar & Jean-Paul Chavas & Ronald W. Cotterill & Brian W. Gould, 2005. "An Econometric Analysis of Brand-Level Strategic Pricing Between Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(4), pages 905-931, December.
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