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Marketing information: a competitive analysis

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This paper proposes a simple framework to investigate competition when the product sold is information. In information markets consumers have the option to combine products from different sellers to obtain a more accurate view of the world. In order to find the optimal number of products to buy, consumers take into account the relations (perceived correlations) among the different products, as well as their price and perceived reliability (quality). Our paper shows that firms' anticipation of consumer information acquisition strategies leads to interesting forms of competition. In particular, we show that under reasonable conditions an information seller is better off facing competition than being a monopolist, and collusion in price among sellers can increase consumer surplus as well as profits

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