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Good rankings are bad - Why reliable rankings can hurt consumers

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  • LAURENT BOUTON

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Abstract

Ranking have become increasingly popular on markets for study programs, restau- rants, wines, cars, etc. This paper analyses the welfare implication of such rankings. Consumers have to make a choice between two goods of unknown quality with exogenous presence or absence of an informative ranking. We show that existence of the ranking might make all consumers worse o¤. The existence of a ranking changes the demand structure of consumers. With rigid prices and rationing, the change can be detrimental to consumers due to its e¤ect on rationing. Furthermore, this change in demand can also be detrimental due to consumption externalities. Finally, with perfectly ?exible prices the ranking might increase the market power of ?rms and hence lead to losses for all consumers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-002.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-002

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References

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  1. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2010. "An Updated Ranking of Academic Journals in Economics," Working Papers 1009, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  2. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, 05.
  3. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2007. "The Perils of Transparency in Bureaucracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 300-305, May.
  4. Simon P. Anderson & Régis Renault, 2009. "Comparative advertising: disclosing horizontal match information," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 558-581.
  5. Glazer, Jacob & McGuire, Thomas G., 2006. "Optimal quality reporting in markets for health plans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 295-310, March.
  6. Alan T. Sorensen, 2007. "BESTSELLER LISTS AND PRODUCT VARIETY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 715-738, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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