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Two-sided reputation in certification markets

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  • Bouvard, Matthieu
  • Levy, Raphael
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    Abstract

    We consider a market where privately informed sellers resort to certification to overcome adverse selection. There is uncertainty about the certifier's ability to generate accurate information. The profit of a monopolistic certifier is an inverted U-shaped function of his reputation for accuracy: being perceived as more precise allows to attract more good sellers but a high expected precision also deters bad sellers. Since the certifier tries to reach a balanced reputation to attract both types, reputation has a disciplining effect when the certifier is perceived as insufficiently accurate, but gives incentives to decrease precision when he is perceived as “too" accurate. The impact of competition depends on whether sellers “multihome" or “singlehome". Under singlehoming, certifiers compete to attract good sellers, which makes higher reputation more valuable. Multihoming makes higher reputations less desirable because the competitor exerts a negative externality by providing extra information. Therefore, singlehoming attenuates bad reputation effects, while multihoming exacerbates inefficiencies.

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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 446.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:446

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    1. Chen, Zhihua & Lookman, Aziz & Schürhoff, Norman & Seppi, Duane J, 2012. "Bond Ratings Matter: Evidence from the Lehman Brothers Index Rating Redefinition," CEPR Discussion Papers 9108, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    11. Luis Rayo & Ilya Segal, 2010. "Optimal Information Disclosure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(5), pages 949 - 987.
    12. 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.
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    14. Sobel, Joel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 557-73, October.
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