Consumer information and the limits to competition

Jidong Zhou (University of Yale)

November 4, 2019, 14:00–15:30

Room MS001

Industrial Organization seminar


This paper studies competition between firms when consumers observe a private signal of their preferences over products. Within the class of signal structures which allow pure-strategy Bertrand equilibria, we derive signal structures which are optimal for firms and those which are optimal for consumers. The firm-optimal signal structure amplifies the underlying product differentiation, thereby relaxing competition, while ensuring that consumers purchase their preferred product, thereby maximizing total welfare. The consumer-optimal structure dampens product differentiation, which intensifies competition, but induces some consumers with weak preferences over products to purchase their less-preferred product.(joint with Mark Armstrong).