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Equilibrium Demand Elasticities across Quality Segments

  • Olivier Coibion

    (University of Michigan)

  • Liran Einav

    (Stanford University)

  • Juan Carlos Hallak

    (University of Michigan)

Empirical studies find substantial differences in demand elasticities and associated markups among products of different quality. This paper analyzes the theoretical determinants of such variation. We present a simple model that allows for horizontal and vertical differentiation and accounts for endogenous entry. We find that most economic forces in our model, such as consumers’ price sensitivity, the scope for product differentiation, and sunk costs of entry, are likely to induce lower equilibrium demand elasticities for higher quality products. In contrast, other economic forces, such as marginal cost of production and the distribution (across consumers) of the willingness to pay for quality, may induce the opposite pattern. These results provide an organizing framework through which empirical findings may be interpreted, and may also help to predict variation in demand elasticities for markets in which empirical estimates of elasticities are unavailable or infeasible to obtain.

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File URL: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers526-550/r550.pdf
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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 550.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:550
Contact details of provider: Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/
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  1. Nevo, Aviv, 1998. "Measuring Market Power in the Ready-To-Eat Cereal Industry," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 037, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  2. Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2006. "Quality and Location Choices under Price Regulation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 207-227, 03.
  3. Neven, D. & Thisse, J-F., 1989. "On Quality And Variety Competition," CORE Discussion Papers 1989020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2005. "Trade in Ideal Varieties: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Economides, Nicholas, 1993. "Quality variations in the circular model of variety-differentiated products," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 235-257, April.
  6. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
  7. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2003. "Multiproduct Quality Competition: Fighting Brands and Product Line Pruning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 748-774, June.
  8. Jerry HAUSMAN & Gregory LEONARD & J. Douglas ZONA, 1994. "Competitive Analysis with Differentiated Products," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 159-180.
  9. Marcel Canoy & Martin Peitz, 1997. "The differentiation triangle," Working Papers. Serie AD 1997-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  11. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  12. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  13. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
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