Price and Quality in Spatial Competition

27 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2009

See all articles by Kurt Richard Brekke

Kurt Richard Brekke

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Luigi Siciliani

University of York

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: August 2009

Abstract

We study the relationship between competition and quality within a spatial competition framework where firms compete in prices and quality. We generalise existing literature on spatial price-quality competition along several dimensions, including utility functions that are non-linear in income and cost functions that are non-separable in output and quality. Our main message is that the scope for a positive relationship between competition and quality is underestimated in the existing literature. If we allow for income effects by assuming that utility is strictly concave in income, we find that lower transportation costs always lead to higher quality. The presence of income effects might also reverse a previously reported negative relationship between the number of firms and equilibrium quality. This reversal result is further strenghtened if there are cost substitutabilities between output and quality. Equilibrium quality provision is always less than socially optimal in the presence of income effects.

Keywords: Income effects, Quality, Spatial competition

JEL Classification: D21, L13, L15

Suggested Citation

Brekke, Kurt Richard and Siciliani, Luigi and Straume, Odd Rune, Price and Quality in Spatial Competition (August 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7422, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1469921

Kurt Richard Brekke (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Luigi Siciliani

University of York ( email )

Heslington
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE) ( email )

Campus de Gualtar
Braga, 4710-057
Portugal

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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