Location, Location, Location! A Classroom Demonstration of the Hotelling Model

Lisa R. Anderson, Beth A. Freeborn, Jessica Holmes, Mark Jeffreys, Dan Lass, Jack Soper

This paper outlines a classroom experiment that complements the standard theoretical discussion of Hotelling's (1929) spatial competition model. The exercise provides students with a deeper understanding of the intuition behind competitive clustering, resolving the Bertrand paradox, and product positioning. Students act as street vendors operating within a “linear city.” Each student chooses a location, taking into account the locations of competitors and the transportation costs of customers. Other treatments include choosing price given location and a two-stage model of location and price. The experiment can be implemented in any size class, with very little preparation. It is well-suited for courses in microeconomics, industrial organization, game theory, experimental economics, and public choice economics, and also can be incorporated into political science courses.

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