Firms signal high quality through high prices even if the market structure is highly competitive and price competition is severe. In a symmetric Bertrand oligopoly where products may differ only in their quality, production cost is increasing in quality and the quality of each firm’s product is private information (not known to consumers or to other firms), we show that there exist fully revealing equilibria in mixed strategies. In such equilibria, low quality firms enjoy market power when other firms are of high quality. High quality firms charge higher prices than low quality firms but lose business to rival firms with higher probability. Some of the revealing equilibria involve high degree of market power (price close to full information monopoly level) while others are more “competitive”. Under certain conditions, if the number of firms is large enough, information is revealed in every equilibrium.

Additional Metadata
Keywords incomplete information, oligopoly, quality, signalling
JEL Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection (jel D43), Asymmetric and Private Information (jel D82), Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets (jel L13), Information and Product Quality; Standardization and Compatibility (jel L15)
Publisher Tinbergen Institute
Persistent URL
Series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series
Journal Discussion paper / Tinbergen Institute
Janssen, M.C.W, & Roy, S. (2007). Signaling Quality through Prices in an Oligopoly (No. TI 2007-081/1). Discussion paper / Tinbergen Institute. Tinbergen Institute. Retrieved from