Image concerns and the provision of quality
AbstractIn this paper, I study markets where consumers are heterogeneous with respect to both their concerns for the quality of goods and the image associated with them. Consumers with a taste for quality lend a positive image to the product of their choice and thereby increase the product's value to others. A monopolist restricts the product portfolio and charges price premia to allocate image along with quality. Heterogeneity in image concerns thereby provides a rationale for pooling consumers with differing quality preferences. Although image is correlated with a product's quality in equilibrium, an increase in the value of image may decrease quality provision. In a competitive market, premium prices are unsustainable so that image-concerned consumers buy excessive quality instead. Monopoly may therefore yield higher welfare than competition. Policy options to remedy the efficiency losses are discussed. --
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Date of creation: 2013
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image motivation; conspicuous consumption; two-dimensional screening; ethical consumption;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-02-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2014-02-02 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-MKT-2014-02-02 (Marketing)
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