Product design and advertisement strategy have been theoretically studied as separate firms decisions. In the present paper, we look at the link between advertisement and product design and we analyze how firms’ advertising decisions influence the market effect of product design. We consider a model of informative advertisement where two firms produce a bundle of complementary products which are partially compatible. A product design with more compatible components is associated with a larger intensity of advertisement. Higher compatibility reduces competition between firms, which incentivizes them to give factual information about their bundle. Like Matutes and Regibeau (1988), industry profit and total welfare is maximized with full product compatibility. However, contrary to them, we obtain that consumer surplus is not monotone with the level of product compatibility and its maximum is attained with partial compatibility. Moreover, because consumer surplus not only depends on the equilibrium prices but also on the intensity of advertisement, we find that for intermediate equilibrium levels of advertising, consumers prefer fully compatible components rather than full incompatibility. As a result, a more compatible product design benefits all the agents in the economy.
|Keywords:||Informative advertisement; product design; partial compatibility; welfare.|
|JEL:||D21 D43 L13 L15|
|By:||Kaushik Basu (Department of Economics, Cornell University)
Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome “Tor Vergata")
Luca Stanca (University of Milan – Bicocca)
This paper investigates behavior in the Traveler’s Dilemma game and isolates deviations from textbook predictions caused by differences in welfare perceptions and strategic miscalculations. It presents the results of an experimental analysis based on a 2×2 design where the own and the other subject’s bonus-penalty parameters are changed independently. We find that the change in own bonus-penalty alone entirely explains the effect on claims of a simultaneous change in one’s own and the other’s bonus-penalty. An increase in the other subject’s bonus-penalty has a significant negative effect on claims when the own bonus-penalty is low, whereas it does not have a significant effect when the own bonus-penalty is high. We also find that expected claims are inconsistent with actual claims in the asymmetric treatments. Focusing on reported strategies, we document substantial heterogeneity and show that changes in choices across treatments are largely explained by risk aversion.