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Costly horizontal differentiation

Author

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  • João Correia-da-Silva

    () (CEF.UP and Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Joana Pinho

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

Abstract

We study the effect of quadratic differentiation costs in the Hotelling model of endogenous product differentiation. The equilibrium location choices are found to depend on the magnitude of the differentiation costs (relatively to the transportation costs supported by consumers). When the differentiation costs are low, there is maximum differentiation. When they are intermediate, there is partial differentiation, with a degree of differentiation that decreases with the differentiation costs. When they are above a certain threshold, there is no equilibrium. In any case, the socially optimal degree of differentiation is always lower than the equilibrium level. We also study the case of collusion between firms. If firms can combine locations but not prices, they locate asymmetrically when differentiation costs are high and choose maximum differentiation when they are low. When collusion extends to price setting, there is partial differentiation.

Suggested Citation

  • João Correia-da-Silva & Joana Pinho, 2009. "Costly horizontal differentiation," FEP Working Papers 351, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:351
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ziss, Steffen, 1993. "Entry deterrence, cost advantage and horizontal product differentiation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 523-543, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Costly product differentiation; Spatial competition; Hotelling model;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • 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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