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Signals Sell: Product Lines when Consumers Differ Both in Taste for Quality and Image Concern

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  • Friedrichsen, Jana

    (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal product lines when consumers differ both in their taste for quality and in their desire for social image. The market outcome features partial pooling and product differentiation that is not driven by heterogeneous valuations for quality but by image concerns. A typical monopoly outcome is a two-tier product line resembling a \"masstige\" strategy as observed in luxury goods markets. Products can have identical quality and differ only in price and image, thereby rationalizing quality-equivalent line extensions. Under competition, both average quality and market coverage are (weakly) higher but monopoly can yield higher welfare than competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrichsen, Jana, 2018. "Signals Sell: Product Lines when Consumers Differ Both in Taste for Quality and Image Concern," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 70, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
  • Handle: RePEc:rco:dpaper:70
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    Cited by:

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    2. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Köster, Mats & Peiseler, Florian, 2019. "Attention-driven demand for bonus contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-24.
    3. Sebald, Alexander & Vikander, Nick, 2019. "Optimal firm behavior with consumer social image concerns and asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 311-330.
    4. Florian H. Schneider, 2020. "Signaling moral values through consumption," ECON - Working Papers 367, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Heidhues, Paul & Köszegi, Botond, 2018. "Behavioral Industrial Organization," CEPR Discussion Papers 12988, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Oliver Bos & Martin Pollrich, 2020. "Optimal Auctions With Signaling Bidders," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_158, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    7. George Deltas & Eleftherios Zacharias, 2018. "Product Proliferation and Pricing in a Market with Positional Effects," Working Papers 242312853, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    image concern; conspicuous consumption; two-dimensional screening; nonlinear pricing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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