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Products Liability, Signaling and Disclosure

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Author Info

  • Andrew F. Daughety
  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

Abstract

We examine the behavior of a firm that produces a product with a privately-observed safety attribute. Costly disclosure and price-signaling of safety are alternative firm strategies. The liability system and production cost determine the firm's full marginal cost. When the firm's full marginal cost is increasing (decreasing) in safety, a firm with a safer product will distort its price upward (downward) and will sometimes inefficiently choose to signal rather than disclose (to disclose rather than signal). We also allow for a small fraction of naively optimistic (pessimistic) consumers; this leads to less price distortion and decreased (increased) incentives to disclose.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 164 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 106-126

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200803)164:1_106:plsad_2.0.tx_2-i

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References

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  1. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Communicating quality: a unified model of disclosure and signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 973-989.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  4. W. Kip Viscusi, 1978. "A Note on "Lemons" Markets with Quality Certification," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 277-279, Spring.
  5. Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
  6. Bagwell, Kyle, 1992. "Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 151-74, Spring.
  7. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  8. Dan Levin & James Peck & Lixin Ye, 2009. "QUALITY DISCLOSURE AND COMPETITION -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 167-196, 03.
  9. Andrew Daughety & Jennifer Reinganum, . "Secrecy and Safety," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1039, American Law & Economics Association.
  10. Fluet, Claude & Garella, Paolo G., 2002. "Advertising and prices as signals of quality in a regime of price rivalry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 907-930, September.
  11. Boyan Jovanovic, 1982. "Truthful Disclosure of Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 36-44, Spring.
  12. Daughety, Andrew F. & Reinganum, Jennifer F., 2007. "Competition and confidentiality: Signaling quality in a duopoly when there is universal private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 94-120, January.
  13. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1995. "Product Safety: Liability, R&D, and Signaling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1187-1206, December.
  14. Michael J. Fishman & Kathleen M. Hagerty, 2003. "Mandatory Versus Voluntary Disclosure in Markets with Informed and Uninformed Customers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 45-63, April.
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  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Insuk Cheong & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2004. "Costly Information Disclosure in Oligopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 121-132, 03.
  24. Cai, Hongbin & Riley, John & Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Reserve price signaling," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 253-268, July.
  25. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2007. "Communicating Quality: A Unified Model of Disclosure and Signaling," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0703, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  2. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe & Kristoffel Grechenig, 2010. "Switching Consumers and Product Liability: On the Optimality of Incomplete Strict Liability," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_03, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  3. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim & Grechenig, Kristoffel, 2011. "A note on the optimality of (even more) incomplete strict liability," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 77-82, June.
  4. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2011. "Economic Analysis of Products Liability: Theory," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1107, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  5. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe, 2010. "Product liability and the virtues of asymmetric information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 100(1), pages 19-32, May.

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