Competition Can Harm Consumers

16 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2008

See all articles by Simon Cowan

Simon Cowan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Xiangkang Yin

Deakin University; Financial Research Network (FIRN)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2008


Duopolists selling differentiated products can generate less consumer surplus than a monopoly selling one of the products. In a Hotelling-type model where a monopoly supplies more than half of potential consumers, but not all, entry by a rival leads to a duopoly price that is higher than the monopoly price. Consumers in aggregate will be made worse off by such entry when the effect of the price increase outweighs the benefit of extra variety. When consumers have continuous demand functions and firms use two-part tariffs, duopoly can also result in lower aggregate consumer surplus than monopoly.

Keywords: Duopoly, Competition, Two-part Tariff, Consumer Surplus

JEL Classification: D42, D43, L12, L13

Suggested Citation

Cowan, Simon G.B. and Yin, Xiangkang, Competition Can Harm Consumers (May 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Simon G.B. Cowan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Xiangkang Yin (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria

Financial Research Network (FIRN)

C/- University of Queensland Business School
St Lucia, 4071 Brisbane


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