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Markets with Untraceable Goods of Unknown Quality: A Market Failure Exacerbated by Globalization

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  • McQuade, Timothy
  • Salant, Stephen W.

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Winfree, Jason

Abstract

In markets for fruits, vegetables, and many imported goods, consumers cannot discern quality prior to purchase and can never identify the producer. Producing high-quality, safe goods is costly and raises the "collective reputation" for quality shared with rival firms. Minimum quality standards imposed on all firms improve welfare. If consumers can observe the country of origin of a product, quality, profits, and welfare increase. If one country imposes a minimum quality standard on its exports, consumers benefit, the profits of firms in the country with regulation rise, and the profits of firms in countries without regulation fall.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-31.

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Date of creation: 12 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-31

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  1. 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.
  2. Alan L. Olmstead & Paul W. Rhode, 2003. "Hog Round Marketing, Seed Quality, and Government Policy: Institutional Change in U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960," NBER Working Papers 9612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. A. Michael Spence, 1975. "Monopoly, Quality, and Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 417-429, Autumn.
  4. Kotchen, Matthew J. & Salant, Stephen W., 2011. "A free lunch in the commons," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 245-253, May.
  5. Tirole, Jean, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Winfree, Jason A. & McCluskey, Jill J., 2003. "Collective Reputation And Quality," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 21927, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  8. Pierre Fleckinger, 2007. "Collective Reputation and Market Structure: Regulating the Quality vs Quantity Trade-of," Working Papers hal-00243080, HAL.
  9. Raphaël Soubeyran & Elodie Rouvière, 2008. "Collective Reputation, Entry and Minimum Quality Standard," Working Papers 2008.7, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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Cited by:
  1. Baniak Andrzej & Grajzl Peter, 2013. "Equilibrium and Welfare in a Model of Torts with Industry Reputation Effects," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 265-302, October.

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