George Symeonidis

"Comparing Cournot and Bertrand equilibria in a differentiated duopoly with product R&D," International Journal of Industrial Organization Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2003, pp. 39-55.

JEL codes: L13, D43
Keywords: product R&D, price versus quantity competition, welfare

Abstract: This paper compares Bertrand and Cournot equilibria in a differentiated duopoly with substitute goods and product R&D. I find that R&D expenditure, prices and firms' net profits are always higher under quantity competition than under price competition. Furthermore, output, consumer surplus and total welfare are higher in the Bertrand equilibrium than in the Cournot equilibrium if either R&D spillovers are weak or products are sufficiently differentiated. If R&D spillovers are strong and products are not too differentiated, then output, consumer surplus and total welfare are lower in the Bertrand case than in the Cournot case. Thus a key finding of the paper is that there are circumstances where quantity competition can be more beneficial than price competition both for consumers and for firms.