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Signaling Quality Through Prices in an Oligopoly

Author

Listed:
  • Maarten C.W. Janssen

    () (Tinbergen Institute and Erasmus University)

  • Santanu Roy

    () (Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

Firms signal high quality through high prices even if the market structure is highly competitive and price competition is severe. In a symmetric Bertrand oligopoly where products may differ only in their quality, production cost is increasing in quality and the quality of each firm's product is private information (not known to consumers or to other firms), we show that there exist fully revealing equilibria in mixed strategies. In such equilibria, low quality firms enjoy market power when other firms are of high quality. High quality firms charge higher prices than low quality firms but lose business to rival firms with higher probability. Some of the revealing equilibria involve high degree of market power (price close to full information monopoly level) while others are more "competitive". Under certain conditions, if the number of firms is large enough, information is revealed in every equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten C.W. Janssen & Santanu Roy, 2007. "Signaling Quality Through Prices in an Oligopoly," Departmental Working Papers 0709, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:smu:ecowpa:709
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Signaling; Quality; Oligopoly; Incomplete Information.;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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