Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When (not) to Segment Markets

Gendron-Saulnier: Department of Economics, University of Montreal and Marc Santugini: Institute of Applied Economics, HEC Montreal tell us When (not) to Segment Markets.

ABSTRACT: A monopoly decides whether to segment two separate markets. Demand depends on stochastic shocks and some buyers are uninformed about the quality of the good. Contrary to the case of complete information, we show that it is not always more profitable for the firm to segment the markets in an environment in which some buyers have incomplete information. The reason is that the presence of uninformed buyers provides the firm with the incentive to engage in noisy price-signaling. Indeed, if the benefit from price flexibility (through market segmentation) is offset by the cost of signaling quality through two distinct prices, then it is optimal not to segment the markets and to use uniform pricing.

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