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The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Revisited: Return of the Median Voter

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Abstract

We study a linear location model (Hotelling, 1929) in which n (with n ? 2) boundedly rational players follow (noisy) myopic best-reply behavior. We show through numerical and mathematical analysis that such players spend almost all the time clustered together near the center, re-establishing the “Principle of Minimum Differentiation” that had been discredited by equilibrium analyses. Thus, our analysis of the best-response dynamics shows that when considering market dynamics as well as their policy and welfare implications, it may be important to look beyond equilibrium analyses

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  • Nobuyuki Hanaki & Emily Tanimura & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2016. "The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Revisited: Return of the Median Voter," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16037, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:16037
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. B. Curtis Eaton & Richard G. Lipsey, 1975. "The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Reconsidered: Some New Developments in the Theory of Spatial Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 27-49.
    2. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Basins of Attraction, Long-Run Stochastic Stability, and the Speed of Step-by-Step Evolution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 17-45.
    3. Christian Ewerhart, 2014. "Mixed equilibrium in a pure location game: the case of n ≥ 4 firms," ECON - Working Papers 168, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    4. Drouvelis, Michalis & Saporiti, Alejandro & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2014. "Political motivations and electoral competition: Equilibrium analysis and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 86-115.
    5. Shino, Junnosuke & Kawasaki, Ryo, 2012. "Farsighted stable sets in Hotelling’s location games," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 23-30.
    6. Irmen, Andreas & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1998. "Competition in Multi-characteristics Spaces: Hotelling Was Almost Right," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 76-102, January.
    7. repec:ulb:ulbeco:2013/1759 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. de Palma, A, et al, 1985. "The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Holds under Sufficient Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 767-781, July.
    9. Shaked, A, 1982. "Existence and Computation of Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibrium for 3-Firms Location Problem," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1-2), pages 93-96, September.
    10. Collins, Richard & Sherstyuk, Katerina, 2000. "Spatial Competition with Three Firms: An Experimental Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 73-94, January.
    11. Balkenborg, Dieter & Hofbauer, Josef & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2016. "Refined best reply correspondence and dynamics," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 451, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    12. Hopkins, Ed, 1999. "A Note on Best Response Dynamics," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 138-150, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hotelling location model; Principle of Minimum Differentiation; Nash equilibrium; Best-response dynamics; Stochastic stability; Invariant measures;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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