The Effect of Asymmetric Entry Costs on Bertrand Competition

Authors:
Charles J. Thomas
Working Paper:
228

By permitting firms to have different entry costs, I generalize two previously studied models of two-stage entry and pricing amongst Bertrand competitors. I find that the existing results depend critically on the symmetry assumption. For example, if firms' entry decisions are observed before price-setting occurs, then total welfare can increase following the introduction of a potential entrant, in contrast to the unambiguous welfare reduction found in the symmetric setting. If firms' entry decisions are unobserved before pricing-setting occurs, then the expected price typically decreases or remains unchanged following the introduction of a potential entrant, in contrast to the unambiguous price increase found in the symmetric setting. In both price-setting environments, competition increases following the introduction of potential entrants with sufficiently low entry costs, a finding that is obscured by focusing on the symmetric models.