Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Roberto Cellini (Department of Economics, University of Catania) ; Luigi Siciliani (yDepartment of Economics and Related Studies, University of York) ; Odd Rune Straume offer A dynamic model of quality competition with endogenous prices.
ABSTRACT: We develop a dynamic model of price and quality competition in order to analyse the effects of competition intensity on quality provision and to which extent an unregulated market is able to provide a socially optimal quality level. Using a differential-game approach with price and quality competition on a Hotelling line, we compare the benchmark open-loop solution against the feedback closed-loop solution, which implies strategic dynamic interaction over time. We find that steady-state quality in the closed-loop solution is (i) increasing in the degree of competition between firms, (ii) lower than in the open-loop solution, and (iii) lower than the socially optimal level. In contrast, steady-state quality in the open-loop solution is at the socially optimal level and independent of competition intensity. Thus, our analysis identifies dynamic strategic interactions between competing firms as an independent source of inefficiency in quality provision.