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Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture

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  • Roland Strausz

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Abstract

This paper studies problems of capture in certification markets. It derives conditions under which reputation enables certifiers to resist capture. Moreover, it identifies a general principle of reputation models that favors concentration. This explains certifiers as efficient market institutions that sell reputation as a service to other firms. The analysis yields the following insights: 1) A demand for external certification exists, despite being costly and susceptibility to capture. 2) Low discount factors require a price of certification that exceeds the static monopoly price. 3) Price competition tends to a monopolization of certification markets. 4) Honest certification exhibits economies of scale and constitutes a natural monopoly.

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Paper provided by Departmental Working Papers in its series Papers with number 018.

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Handle: RePEc:bef:lsbest:018

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Keywords: certification; collusion; bribery; reputation; natural monopoly;

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  1. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1993. "Collusion in Hierarchical Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 629-56, May.
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  8. Martimort, David, 1999. "The Life Cycle of Regulatory Agencies: Dynamic Capture and Transaction Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 929-47, October.
  9. Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Jean TIROLE, 1990. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making : a Theory of Regulatory Capture," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9004, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  10. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
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  12. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-83, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Khalil, Fahad & Lawarree, Jacques, 1995. "Collusive Auditors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 442-46, May.
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  16. 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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