This paper studies a spatial competition game between two firms that sell a homogeneous good at some pre-determined fixed price. A population of consumers is spread out over the real line, and the two firms simultaneously choose location in this same space. When buying from one of the firms, consumers incur the fixed price plus some transportation costs, which are increasing with their distance to the firm. Under the assumption that each consumer is ready to buy one unit of the good whatever the locations of the firms, firms converge to the median location: there is minimal differentiation. In this article, we relax this assumption and assume that there is an upper limit to the distance a consumer is ready to cover to buy the good. We show that the game always has at least one Nash equilibrium in pure strategy. Under this more general assumption, the "minimal differentiation" principle no longer holds in general. At equilibrium, firms choose "minimal", "intermediate" or "full" differentiation, depending on this critical distance a consumer is ready to cover and on the shape of the distribution of consumers' locations.
Spatial competition games; horizontal differentiation; willingness to pay;
TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1072, February 2020