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Good rankings are bad - Why reliable rankings can hurt consumers

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  • Bouton, Laurent
  • Kirchsteiger, Georg

Abstract

Ranking have become increasingly popular on markets for study programs, restaurants, 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 off. 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 effect on rationing. Furthermore, this change in demand can also be detrimental due to consumption externalities. Finally, with perfectly flexible prices the ranking might increase the market power of firms and hence lead to losses for all consumers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8702.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8702

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Related research

Keywords: Consumer Welfare; Externalities; Market Power; Rankings; Rationing;

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  1. Volij, Oscar & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2004. "The Measurment of Intellectual Influence," Staff General Research Papers 10797, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  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. Renault, Régis & Anderson, Simon P., 2009. "Comparative advertising: disclosing horizontal match information," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12478, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2010. "An Updated Ranking of Academic Journals in Economics," Working Paper Series 15_10, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
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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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