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Market Behavior with Environmental Quality Information Costs

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  • Bougherara Douadia

    (INRA, UMR 1302 SMART, F-35000 Rennes, France)

  • Piguet Virginie

    (INRA, UMR 1041 CESAER, F-21000 Dijon, France)

Abstract

Formally, eco-labels are modeled as tools that enable the mitigation of informational asymmetry on product environmental quality. We argue that even in the presence of an eco-label, markets for eco-friendly products may still be inefficient. We model eco-friendly goods as goods with environmental quality information costs. We induce buyers' preferences in laboratory posted offer markets with information costs on products' quality. We analyze the effect of varying information costs on market efficiency and consumer information demand. We also test for the effect of self-declared labels. We find that a low information cost introduces a friction not high enough to lead to adverse selection whereas a high information cost drives out high quality products. We find self-declared labels have a positive effect on market efficiency but only sellers benefit from self-declared labels. We find that demand for information follows the classic law of demand and that it is a non linear function of product price as theoretically expected. We also find that, when information costs are high, demand for information decreases when sellers use self-declared labels: either buyers use self-declared labels as an information-revelation device or reputational affects feedbacks are a substitute for information demand. We draw implications for the design of eco-labels.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jafio.2009.7.2/jafio.2009.7.2.1272/jafio.2009.7.2.1272.xml?format=INT
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 1-28

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bjafio:v:7:y:2009:i:2:n:8

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  1. Noussair, Charles N & Plott, Charles R & Riezman, Raymond G, 1995. "An Experimental Investigation of the Patterns of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 462-91, June.
  2. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2002. "Environmental Labeling and Incomplete Consumer Information in Laboratory Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 113-134, January.
  3. Lynch, Michael & Miller, Ross M. & Plott, Charles R. & Porter, Russell., 1984. "Product Quality, Informational Efficiency and Regulations in Experimental Markets," Working Papers 518, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Thomas Bue Bjorner & Lars Garn Hansen & Clifford S. Russell, 2002. "Environmental Labelling and Consumer's Choice - An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of the Nordic Swan," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0203, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  5. Stefanie Kirchhoff, 2000. "Green Business and Blue Angels," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 15(4), pages 403-420, April.
  6. Teisl, Mario F. & Roe, Brian & Hicks, Robert L., 2002. "Can Eco-Labels Tune a Market? Evidence from Dolphin-Safe Labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 339-359, May.
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