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Reputations, Market Structure, and the Choice of Quality Assurance Systems in the Food Industry

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Abstract

Participants in a supply chain of agricultural value-added products face significant challenges. Many of the costly distinctive traits are difficult (if not impossible) to observe even after consumption. A complicating factor, addressed here, is that in some circumstances delivered quality can only be imperfectly learned and/or affected stochastically by producers. In order for markets for these goods to arise, firms touting the quality of the product need to be trusted. In response to these challenges, new (and diverse) quality assurance systems (QASs) that facilitate the acquisition and flow of information about agricultural and food products are being put in place. A repeated-purchases model is developed to explore the fundamental economic factors that lie behind the choice of different QASs and their associated degrees of stringency by firms. Differences in the quality discoverability of a sought-after attribute, market structure, attractiveness of a market, nature of reputations, and the value placed in the future are among the factors contributing to the implementation of widely diverse systems across participants in different markets. Close attention is paid to the role of reputations in providing the incentives for firms to deliver high-quality goods. We model three different scenarios—monopoly, duopoly with firm-specific reputations, and duopoly with industry-wide reputations—and compare the resulting welfare of processors and their customers. We also provide a rationale for the branding efforts of many firms to distinguish their products along the supply chain.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 04-wp377.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:04-wp377

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Keywords: imperfect information; product quality; quality assurance; repeated purchases; reputations; supply chain; value-added agriculture.;

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References

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  1. Chalfant, James A. & James, Jennifer S. & Lavoie, Nathalie & Sexton, Richard J., 1999. "Asymmetric Grading Error And Adverse Selection: Lemons In The California Prune Industry," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 24(01), July.
  2. John M. Antle, 1996. "Efficient Food Safety Regulation in the Food Manufacturing Sector," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1242-1247.
  3. Hennessy, David A., 1996. "Information Asymmetry As a Reason for Food Industry Vertical Integration," Staff General Research Papers 5032, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
  5. David A. Hennessy & Jutta Roosen & Helen H. Jensen, 2002. "Systemic Failure in the Provision of Safe Food," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 02-wp299, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  6. Mason, Charles F & Sterbenz, Frederic P, 1994. "Imperfect Product Testing and Market Size," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 61-86, February.
  7. Reardon, Thomas & Farina, Elizabeth Maria Mercier Querido, 2001. "The Rise Of Private Food Quality And Safety Standards: Illustrations From Brazil," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 4(04).
  8. De, Sankar & Nabar, Prafulla, 1991. "Economic implications of imperfect quality certification," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 333-337, December.
  9. Fearne, Andrew & Hornibrook, Susan A. & Dedman, Sandra, 2001. "The Management Of Perceived Risk In The Food Supply Chain: A Comparative Study Of Retailer-Led Beef Quality Assurance Schemes In Germany And Italy," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 4(01).
  10. 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.
  11. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  12. Laurian J. Unnevehr & Helen H. Jensen, 1996. "HACCP as a Regulatory Innovation to Improve Food Safety in the Meat Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 764-769.
  13. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  14. Julie A. Caswell & Eliza M. Mojduszka, 1996. "Using Informational Labeling to Influence the Market for Quality in Food Products," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1248-1253.
  15. Hennessy, David A. & Roosen, Jutta & Miranowski, John, 2001. "Leadership and the Provision of Safe Food," Staff General Research Papers 10549, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  16. Noelke, Corinna M. & Caswell, Julie A., 2000. "A Model Of The Implementation Of Quality Management Systems For Credence Attributes," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21874, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  17. Rafael Rob & Tadashi Sekiguchi, 2001. "Product Quality, Reputation and Turnover," Penn CARESS Working Papers 95ec48d1c0f2065e1d4aaeb99, Penn Economics Department.
  18. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "Branding in food retail of high value crops in Asia: Case of Makhana from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54334, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Jan 2011.
  2. Andrzej Baniak & Peter Grajzl, 2012. "Equilibrium and Welfare in a Model of Torts with Industry Reputation Effects," CEU Working Papers 2012_4, Department of Economics, Central European University, revised 10 Apr 2012.
  3. Bontemps, Christophe & Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra & Simioni, Michel, 2012. "Quality Labels and Firm Survival in the French Cheese Industry," TSE Working Papers 12-335, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  4. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "The rapid emergence of branding in food retail in Asia: Insights from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54337, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2011.
  5. Rouviere, Elodie & Soubeyran, Raphael, 2008. "Collective Reputation, Entry and Minimum Safety Standard," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44465, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  6. Rat-Aspert, Olivier & Weldegebriel, Habtu T. & Stott, Alistair W. & Fourichon, C., 2008. "Managing animal health status information in the cattle market," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44064, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  7. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2010. "The makhana value chain and the fast emergence of branding in food retail: Evidence from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54344, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2010.

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