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Customer Service Quality and Incomplete Information in Mobile Telecommunications: A Game Theoretical Approach to Consumer Protection

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Abstract

There is growing evidence that low-quality customer service prevails in the mobile telecommunications industry. In this paper we provide theoretical support to this empirical observation by using simple game theoretical models where inefficient low-quality service levels are part of an equilibrium strategy for the firms. We also find that the inefficiency is due to a demand-side market failure generated by incomplete information, and that it does not necessarily vanish with competition or with repeated interaction. This is particularly important in terms of policy implications because it suggests that the inefficiency should be solved through regulation via consumer protection.

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File URL: http://eprints.ucm.es/16685/1/1223.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico in its series Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE with number 2012-23.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucm:doicae:1223

Note: The authors wish to thank helpful comments from participants at the 23rd European Regional Conference of the International Telecommunication Society, held in July 2012 at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Corresponding author: Rafael López Zorzano, ralopez@ccee.ucm.es
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Related research

Keywords: Mobile telecommunications; Consumer protection; Game theory; Customer services; Competition; Oligopoly; Market failure; Experience goods; Incomplete information.;

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References

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  1. Smith, Rhonda L, 2000. "When Competition Is Not Enough: Consumer Protection," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 408-25, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
  4. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
  5. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  7. 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.
  8. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  9. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  10. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-46, December.
  11. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, December.
  12. David Sappington, 2005. "Regulating Service Quality: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 123-154, November.
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