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Reputational Incentives for Restaurant Hygiene

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  • Ginger Zhe Jin
  • Phillip Leslie

Abstract

How can consumers be assured that firms will endeavor to provide good quality when quality is unobservable prior to purchase? We test the hypothesis that reputational incentives are effective at causing restaurants to maintain good hygiene quality. We find that chain affiliation provides reputational incentives and franchised units tend to free-ride on chain reputation. We also show that regional variation in the degree of repeat customers affects the strength of reputational incentives for good hygiene at both chain and nonchain restaurants. Despite these incentives, a policy intervention in the form of posted hygiene grade cards causes significant improvements in restaurant hygiene. (JEL I18, I19, L14, L83).

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.1.1.237
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 237-67

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:237-67

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.1.1.237
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References

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  1. Hubbard, Thomas N, 2002. "How Do Consumers Motivate Experts? Reputational Incentives in an Auto Repair Market," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 437-68, October.
  2. Gorton, Gary, 1996. "Reputation Formation in Early Bank Note Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 346-97, April.
  3. Brickley, James A. & Dark, Frederick H., 1987. "The choice of organizational form The case of franchising," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 401-420, June.
  4. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
  5. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . ""Who Wants a Good Reputation?''," CARESS Working Papres 98-12, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. John A. List, 2005. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," NBER Working Papers 11616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lafontaine, Francine, 1999. "Franchising versus corporate ownership: The effect on price dispersion," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 17-34, January.
  8. Francine Lafontaine, 1992. "Agency Theory and Franchising: Some Empirical Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 263-283, Summer.
  9. Andrea Shepard, 1993. "Contractual Form, Retail Price, and Asset Characteristics in Gasoline Retailing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 58-77, Spring.
  10. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1996. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 5585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect Of Information On Product Quality: Evidence From Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451, May.
  14. Mailath, George J & Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation? Erratum," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 714, July.
  15. Norton, Seth W, 1988. "An Empirical Look at Franchising as an Organizational Form," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 197-218, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kosová, Renáta & Lafontaine, Francine, 2012. "Much ado about chains: A research agenda," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 303-308.
  2. Hongbin Cai & Ichiro Obara, 2006. "Firm Reputation and Horizontanl Integration," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000285, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Michael Luca & Georgios Zervas, 2013. "Fake It Till You Make It: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-006, Harvard Business School.
  4. Michael Luca, 2011. "Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-016, Harvard Business School.
  5. Fishman, Arthur & Finkelshtain, Israel & Simhon, Avi & Yacouel, Nira, 2008. "The Economics of Collective Brands," Discussion Papers 46056, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.
  6. Mitsuru Sunada, 2010. "Vertical Integration in the Japanese Movie Industry," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 135-150, June.
  7. Lamar Pierce & Michael W. Toffel, 2010. "The Role of Organizational Scope and Governance in Strengthening Private Monitoring," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-004, Harvard Business School, revised Feb 2012.
  8. Xiao, Mo, 2010. "Is quality accreditation effective? Evidence from the childcare market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 708-721, November.
  9. Becker, Bo & Milbourn, Todd, 2011. "How did increased competition affect credit ratings?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 493-514, September.
  10. repec:cgr:cgsser:03-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Anil R. Doshi & Glen W.S. Dowell & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "How Firms Respond to Mandatory Information Disclosure," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2012.
  12. Alexander Rasch & Christian Waibel, 2013. "What drives fraud in a credence goods market? Evidence from a field study," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/179, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  13. Clerides, Sofronis & Nearchou, Paris & Pashardes, Panos, 2005. "Intermediaries as Bundlers, Traders and Quality Assessors: The Case of UK Tour Operators," CEPR Discussion Papers 5038, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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