Hedonic Quality and Social Norms: A Hybrid Model of Product Differentiation
Quaderni - Working Paper DSE N° 1029
35 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 22, 2015
We analyse how strategic competition between a green firm and a brown competitor develops when their products are differentiated along two dimensions: hedonic quality and environmental quality. The former dimension refers to the pure (intrinsic) performance of the good, whereas the latter dimension has a positional content: buying green goods satisfies the consumers’ desire to be socially worthy citizens. Product variants thus comply at different levels with "green" social norms. Consumer preferences depend on a combination of hedonic quality and compliance with social norms. Assuming that the high hedonic quality variant complies less with these norms than the low hedonic quality variant, we characterize different equilibrium configurations which appear as a result of both the intensity of such norms and the willingness to pay for the hedonic quality. Afterwards, we discuss the policy implications of our analysis.
Keywords: Hedonic quality, environmental quality, relative preferences
JEL Classification: D62, L13, H13
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