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On the use of labels in credence goods markets

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  • Olivier Bonroy

    ()

  • Christos Constantatos

    ()

Abstract

We analyze credence goods markets in the case of two firms. Consumers know that the quality of the good varies but do not know which firm is of high quality. First, we show that the high quality producer may be unable to monopolize the market, or even to survive in some cases, in situations where it is efficient and trusted by all consumers. Second, although a label restoring full information improves welfare, it may also reduce both firms? profits by intensifying competition. Since even the high quality producer may not wish to label its product, in such cases the label must be mandatory. Third, an imperfect label which moves everybody?s beliefs closer to the truth without restoring full information may produce adverse results on market structure and welfare, either by increasing or by reducing the variance of beliefs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Regulatory Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 237-252

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Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:33:y:2008:i:3:p:237-252

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100298

Related research

Keywords: Credence goods; Incomplete information; Label; Vertical differentiation; D82; L15;

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References

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  1. Kathleen Segerson, 1999. "Mandatory versus voluntary approaches to food safety," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 53-70.
  2. P. Garella & P. Petrakis, 2004. "Minimum Quality Standards and ConsumersÕ Information," Working Papers 532, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Emons, Winand, 1997. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9c5508x4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  4. Brian Roe & Ian Sheldon, 2007. "Credence Good Labeling: The Efficiency and Distributional Implications of Several Policy Approaches," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 1020-1033.
  5. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Optimal Pricing of Experience Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 497-507, Autumn.
  6. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  7. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Isabel Grilo, 1992. "Price Competition When Consumersare Uncertain About Which Firm Sells Which Quality," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 629-650, December.
  8. Murray Fulton & Konstantinos Giannakas, 2004. "Inserting GM Products into the Food Chain: The Market and Welfare Effects of Different Labeling and Regulatory Regimes," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(1), pages 42-60.
  9. Segerson, Kathleen, 1998. "Mandatory vs. Voluntary Approaches to Food Safety," Research Reports 25188, University of Connecticut, Food Marketing Policy Center.
  10. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
  11. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  12. John M. Crespi & St)phan Marette, 2001. "How Should Food Safety Certification be Financed?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 852-861.
  13. Marette, Stephan & Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Gozlan, Estelle, 2000. "Product Safety Provision and Consumers' Information," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 426-41, December.
  14. Crespi, John M. & Marette, Stephan, 2003. "Some Economic Implications Of Public Labeling," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 34(03), November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christos Constantatos & Markus Herrmann, 2011. "Market Inertia and the Introduction of Green Products: Can Strategic Effects Justify the Porter Hypothesis?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(2), pages 267-284, October.
  2. Gabszewicz, Jean J. & Resende, Joana, 2012. "Differentiated credence goods and price competition," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 277-287.
  3. Bonroy, Olivier & Lemarié, Stéphane, 2012. "Downstream labeling and upstream price competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 347-360.
  4. Kiesel, Kristin, 2012. "“A Definition at Last, But What Does it All Mean?†Newspaper Coverage of Organic Food Production and its Effects on Milk Purchases," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(1), April.
  5. Stéphan Marette, 2010. "Consumer confusion and multiple equilibria," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 1120-1128.
  6. Bontemps, Christophe & Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra & Simioni, Michel, 2012. "Quality Labels and Firm Survival in the French Cheese Industry," TSE Working Papers 12-335, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  7. Stephan Marette, 2010. "Consumer confusion and multiple equilibria," Working Papers 37866, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  8. Constantine Manasakis & Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2013. "Certification of corporate social responsibility activities in oligopolistic markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 282-309, February.
  9. Kiesel, Kristin & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2009. "Can Information Costs Confuse Consumer Choice?---Nutritional Labels in a Supermarket Experiment," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt6st6d0rr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  10. Gaëlle Balineau & Ivan Dufeu, 2010. "Are Fair Trade Goods Credence Goods? A New Proposal, with French Illustrations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 331-345, April.
  11. Kiesel, Kristin & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2013. "Can information costs affect consumer choice? Nutritional labels in a supermarket experiment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 153-163.
  12. Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2008. "Private CSR Activities in Oligopolistic Markets: Is there any room for Regulation?," Working Papers 0816, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  13. Bonroy, O. & Constantatos, C., 2013. "On the economics of labels : a review of the theoretical literature," Working Papers 2013-01, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  14. repec:ags:jrapmc:122316 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Philippe Barla & Christos Constantatos & Markus Herrmann, 2008. "Environmental Regulation as a Coordination Device for the Introduction of a Green Product: The Porter’s Hypothesis Revisited," Discussion Paper Series 2008_04, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised May 2008.

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