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Product Safety: Liability, R&D, and Signaling

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  • Daughety, Andrew F
  • Reinganum, Jennifer F

Abstract

The authors develop a monopoly model of product design and safety signaling incorporating a parametric liability specification. The firm first engages in R&D to affect the safety of its product. Since the outcome of R&D trials is unobservable to consumers, the firm then chooses its price, understanding that consumers may draw inferences from the price about the product's safety. Consumers acquire and use the product; injuries lead to losses which are allocated by the liability system. The authors vary the liability system's allocation of losses and trace out the implications for R&D investment and the price-safety relationship. Copyright 1995 by American Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 85 (1995)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1187-1206

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:85:y:1995:i:5:p:1187-1206

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  1. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-50, June.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Spence, A Michael, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 561-72, October.
  4. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  6. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
  7. Nancy A. Lutz, 1989. "Warranties as Signals under Consumer Moral Hazard," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 239-255, Summer.
  8. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Leland, Hayne, 1982. "Prices and Qualities in Markets with Costly Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 499-516, October.
  9. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  10. Peter A. Diamond, 1974. "Single Activity Accidents," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 107-164, January.
  11. Cooper, Russell & Ross, Thomas W., 1985. "Monopoly provision of product quality with uninformed buyers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 439-449, December.
  12. Franklin Allen, 1984. "Reputation and Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 311-327, Autumn.
  13. Png, I. P. L., 1987. "Litigation, liability, and incentives for care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 61-85, October.
  14. Esther Gal-Or, 1989. "Warranties as a Signal of Quality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(1), pages 50-61, February.
  15. Shiou Shieh, 1993. "Incentives for Cost-Reducing Investment in a Signalling Model of Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 466-477, Autumn.
  16. Cooper, Russell & Ross, Thomas W, 1984. "Prices, Product Qualities and Asymmetric Information: The Competitive Case," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 197-207, April.
  17. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1988. "The deterrent effects of settlements and trials," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 109-116, June.
  18. Steven A Matthews & Doron Fertig, 1990. "Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Discussion Papers 881, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Riordan, Michael H, 1986. "Monopolistic Competition with Experience Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 265-79, May.
  20. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1987. "The Causes and Consequences of the Dependence of Quality on Price," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
  21. Marilyn J. Simon, 1981. "Imperfect Information, Costly Litigation, and Product Quality," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 171-184, Spring.
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