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Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture

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  • Strausz, Roland

Abstract

This paper derives conditions under which reputation enables certifiers to resist capture. These conditions alone have strong implications for the industrial organization of certification markets: 1) Honest certification requires high prices that may even exceed the static monopoly price. 2) Honest certification exhibits economies of scale and constitutes a natural monopoly. 3) Price competition tends to a monopolization. The results derive from a general principle of reputation models that favors concentration. This principle implies benefits from specialization and explains specialized certifiers as efficient market institutions that sell reputation as a service to other firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 25.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:25

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Keywords: certification; collusion; bribery; reputation; natural monopoly;

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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  2. Martimort, David, 1999. "The Life Cycle of Regulatory Agencies: Dynamic Capture and Transaction Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 929-47, October.
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  5. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
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  7. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  8. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
  9. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making: A Theory of Regulatory Capture," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1089-127, November.
  10. 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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  12. Julio J. Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 1984. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Business Cycles and Price Wars During Booms," NBER Working Papers 1412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  14. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  15. Khalil, Fahad & Lawarree, Jacques, 1995. "Collusive Auditors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 442-46, May.
  16. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-83, February.
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