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ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION AND EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ABOUT PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION

Authors


  • The authors are grateful to Cesaltina Pires, Hélder Vasconcelos, Inés Macho Stadler, Joana Resende, Paul Belleflame, Pedro Pita Barros and, in particular, João Correia da Silva. They thank the editor Klaus G. Zauner and two anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions. They also thank the participants in the Doctoral Workshop at U. Porto and in the 2010 UECE Lisbon Meetings in Game Theory and Applications. Joana Pinho acknowledges financial support from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT – DFRH – SFRH/BPD/79535/2011).

ABSTRACT

We introduce asymmetric information about consumers’ transportation costs (i.e., the degree of product differentiation) in the model of Hotelling. When transportation costs are high, both firms have lower profits with asymmetric information than with perfect information. Contrarily, if transportation costs are low, both firms may prefer the asymmetric information scenario (the informed firm always prefers the informational advantage, while the uninformed firm may or may not prefer to remain uninformed). Information exchange is ex-ante advantageous for both firms, but ex-post damaging if transportation costs turn out to be low. If the information is unverifiable, the informed firm does not represent a reliable source of information, since it always prefers to announce that transportation costs are high and there is no contract that induces truthful revelation.

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