By A. Koutsoyiannis
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Extra resources for Non-Price Decisions: The Firm in a Modern Context
Chamberlin, in chapter 5 of The Theory of Monopolistic Competition, attempted to present a model of pure product equilibrium competition, in which price and advertising were kept constant; but his product model did not have the impact of his price model, partly because he and his contemporaries were still mainly preoccupied with price competition, and partly because his model was not fully developed, and hence was not particularly helpful in showing the process of adjustment of product to a given price (and advertising) structure.
Product as a Market Weapon 35 the results of pure price competition (with product fIxed) so far as the allocation of resources is concerned hinges on the problem of whether quality competition is excessive or not. 32 Abbott argues that vertical quality competition cannot be excessive, while the other types (horizontal and innovational) can be excessive. 33 Of course, this conclusion is derived from the assumption of perfect knowledge, which does no hold in the real world. Results become more obscure when horizontal and innovational competition are combined with vertical competition, and when advertising and other selling activities enter the picture.
The analysis abstracts from both vertical and innovational differentiation in order to examine the adjustments that take place in horizontal competition alone. (i) Assumptions of the model (1) The quality grade is given. Firms have made their choice as to what quality grade to produce with an earlier decision, for example luxury neckties, or records of the same quality standard but with different kinds of music. The price is given for all fums, who are free to offer different varieties within the given quality grade.