IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Hotelling Was Right About Snob/Congestion Goods (Asymptotically)


  • Christian Ahlin

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Peter Ahlin

    () (Chatham Financial)


We add congestion/snobbery to the Hotelling model of spatial competition. For any firm locations on opposite sides of the midpoint, a pure strategy price equilibrium exists and is unique if congestion costs are strong enough relative to transportation costs. The maximum distance between firms in any pure strategy symmetric location equilibrium declines toward zero as congestion costs increase relative to transportation costs. For any non-zero minimum distance between firms, high enough congestion costs relative to transportation costs guarantee that the unique pure strategy symmetric location equilibrium involves minimum differentiation. In this sense Hotelling was right about differentiation of snob/congestion goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Ahlin & Peter Ahlin, 2006. "Hotelling Was Right About Snob/Congestion Goods (Asymptotically)," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0621, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0621

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kohlberg, Elon, 1983. "Equilibrium store locations when consumers minimize travel time plus waiting time," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 211-216.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1109-1116, October.
    3. Di Cintio, Marco, 2007. "A note on the Hotelling principle of minimum differentiation: Imitation and crowd," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 122-129, September.
    4. Grilo, Isabel & Shy, Oz & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2001. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 385-408, June.
    5. 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.
    6. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
    7. H. A. Eiselt & Gilbert Laporte & Jacques-François Thisse, 1993. "Competitive Location Models: A Framework and Bibliography," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 44-54, February.
    8. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Hotelling; spatial competition; differentiation; congestion; snobbery;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0621. 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: (John P. Conley) or (Marina Grazioli). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.