Corporate and Consumer Social Responsibilities: Label Regulations in the Lab
AbstractAlthough consumer attitudes toward corporate social responsibility are positive, socially responsible (SR) products are far from gaining significant market shares. Information asymmetries have been identified as one of the factor contributing to this attitude-behaviour gap, because social responsibility is a credence attribute. Signalling may remedy this market failure. We use an experimental posted offer market to investigate the impact of various regulatory requirements for labels on sellers’ choice to supply SR products and to signal it, and on buyers’ choice of ethical quality. Three treatments are tested: label certification by a third-party, “cheap-talk signalling” with random monitoring and with or without reputations. Individual social preferences are elicited prior to the game, and their distribution generates a positive supply of and demand for social responsibility. When there is third-party certification or cheap-talk signalling with random monitoring and reputations, a separating equilibrium emerges, whereby labelled and non-labelled goods are exchanged at different prices. However, efficiency gains are significant only for third-party certification. Cheap-talk signalling with random monitoring but without reputations does not yield efficiency gains. Moreover, it generates a “halo” effect, whereby buyers are misguided by sellers’ claims about product quality. Finally, individual social preferences have a significant effect on players’ decisions. Only third-party certification can increase companies’ social responsibility and can allow consumers to express their social preferences through consumption.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland with number 120399.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
labels; social responsibility; social preferences; separating equilibrium; market game; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Marketing; C92; D82; L15; M14;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-02-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2012-02-20 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-MKT-2012-02-20 (Marketing)
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