Speaker: Dodge Cahan (Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta)

Title of presentation: “Spatial competition on 2-dimensional markets and networks when consumers don’t always go to the closest firm” joint work with Arkadii Slinko

Date, Time and Venue: Wednesday, 29 April 2020, 11:00-12:00 – online (via Zoom – see calendar invite)

Abstract: We investigate the strategic behavior of firms in a Hotelling spatial setting. The innovation is to combine two important features that are ubiquitous in real markets: (i) the location space is two-dimensional, often with physical restrictions on where firms can locate; (ii) consumers with some probability shop at firms other than the nearest. We characterise convergent Nash equilibria (CNE), in which all firms cluster at one point, for several alternative markets. In the benchmark case of a square convex market, we provide a new direct geometric proof of a result by Cox (1987) that CNE can arise in a sufficiently central part of the market. The convexity of the square space is of restricted realism, however, and we proceed to investigate networks, which more faithfully represent a stylised city’s streets. In the case of a grid, we characterise CNE, which exhibit several new phenomena. CNE in more central locations tend to be easier to support, echoing the unrestricted square case. However, CNE on the interior of edges differ substantially from CNE at nodes and follow quite surprising patterns. Our results also highlight the role of positive masses of indifferent consumers, which arise naturally in a network setting. In most previous models, in contrast, such masses cannot exist or are assumed away as unrealistic.

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