In this paper, we extend the model of vertical product differentiation to consider information disparities about quality differences and their effects on price competition. If uninformed consumers overestimate vertical differentiation, asymmetric information is a source of market power and informed consumers exert positive externalities on high quality product purchasers and negative externalities on low quality product purchasers. Such a result is consistent with the fact that information undermines brand. If uninformed consumers are skeptical, adverse selection issues arise and market demands may be perfectly inelastic to prices. With elastic demands equilibrium prices may be either distorted downwards or reflect real quality if the share of informed consumers is suffciently high. Therefore, with skeptical consumers firms may want either to signal quality or subsidize information provision.
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