Certification and Minimum Quality Standards when Some Consumers are Uninformed
AbstractAbstract: We compare certification to a minimum quality standard (MQS) policy in a duopolistic industry where firms incur quality-dependent fixed costs and only a fraction of consumers observes the quality of the offered goods. Compared to the unregulated outcome, both profits and social welfare would increase if firms could commit to producing a higher quality. An MQS restricts the firms' quality choice and leads to less differentiated goods. This fuels competition and may therefore deter entry. A certification policy, which awards firms with a certificate if the quality of their products exceeds some threshold, does not restrict the firms' quality choice. In contrast to an MQS, certification may lead to more differentiated goods and higher profits. We find that firms are willing to comply with an ambitious certification standard if the share of informed consumers is small. In that case, certification is more effective from a welfare perspective than a minimum quality standard because it is less detrimental to entry.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center in its series Discussion Paper with number 2012-040.
Date of creation: 2012
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Certification; minimum quality standard; unobservable quality; policy intervention;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-12-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2012-12-15 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-CTA-2012-12-15 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-ENV-2012-12-15 (Environmental Economics)
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