Niche products, generic products, and consumer search
We endogenize product differentiation in a model of sequential search with random firm-consumer match value à la Wolinsky (1986) and Anderson and Renault (1999). We focus on a product design choice by which a firm can control the dispersion of consumer valuations for its product; we interpret low dispersion products as ‘generic’ and high dispersion products as ‘nichy.’ Equilibrium product design depends on a feedback loop: when reservation utility is high (low), the marginal customer’s match improves (worsens) with more nichy products, encouraging high (low) differentiation by firms. In turn, when firms offer more nichy products, this induces more intense search; depending on search costs, this could raise or lower consumers’ reservation utility. Remarkably, when the match distribution satisfies a hazard rate condition, firm and consumer interests align: equilibrium product design always adjusts to the level that maximizes utility. When this condition is not met, either multiple equilibria (one nichy, the other generic) or one asymmetric equilibrium (generic and nichy firms coexist) can arise; we argue that the former is more likely for common specifications of consumer preferences.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:||2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999.
"Pricing, product diversity, and search costs: a Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond model,"
Virginia Economics Online Papers
335, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
- Anderson, S.P. & Renault, R., 1997. "Pricing, Product Diversity and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," Papers 97.481, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
- Anderson, Simon P & Renault, Régis, 2005.
CEPR Discussion Papers
5064, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Maria Arbatskaya, 2007. "Ordered search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 119-126, 03.
- David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004.
"On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design,"
Economics Series Working Papers
185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2006. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 756-784, June.
- Perloff, Jeffrey M & Salop, Steven, 1984.
"Equilibrium with product differentiation,"
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series
qt4cq0m6s3, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Dmitri Kuksov, 2004. "Buyer Search Costs and Endogenous Product Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 490-499, May.
- Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511.
- d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, .
"On Hotelling's "Stability in competition","
CORE Discussion Papers RP
385, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005.
"Log-concave probability and its applications,"
Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, 08.
- Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2008.
"Prominence and Consumer Search,"
Economics Series Working Papers
379, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Marco A. Haan & José L. Moraga‐González, 2011.
"Advertising for Attention in a Consumer Search Model,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 552-579, 05.
- Haan, Marco A. & Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L., 2009. "Advertising for attention in a consumer search model," IESE Research Papers D/794, IESE Business School.
- Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991.
"Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium,"
Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
- Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 937, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, and Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456.
- Steven Lippman & Sheldon Ross, 2008. "Variability is beneficial in marked stopping problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 35(2), pages 333-342, May.
- Christou, C. & Vettas, N., 2008. "On informative advertising and product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 92-112, January.
- Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
- Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000.
"Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers,"
INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
- Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
- Gérard P. Cachon & Christian Terwiesch & Yi Xu, 2008. "On the Effects of Consumer Search and Firm Entry in a Multiproduct Competitive Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(3), pages 461-473, 05-06.
- Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32161. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.