Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality
This paper offers a general characterization of the optimal product line prices for a monopolist whose quality of products is initially unknown to consumers. In the focal equilibrium, a monopolist signals a high-quality product line by pricing as if quality were known to be high, but costs of production were higher than they truly are. In a rich set of environments, this characterization implies that the prices of all products are initially distorted upward, with the price distortion being largest for products with the most inelastic demands and/or quality-sensitive production costs. These implications yield predictions for the time path of prices that are broadly consistent with evidence from the marketing literature. The multidimensional signaling problem is made tractable by the satisfaction of a very simple and powerful single crossing property. Copyright 1992 by MIT Press.
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Volume (Year): 1 (1992)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
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References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982.
Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-94, July.
- 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.
- Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984.
"Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1988.
"Advertising and Limit Pricing,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 59-71, Spring.
- Kyle Bagwell, 1990.
"Optimal Export Policy for a New-Product Monopoly,"
898, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Gerard J. Tellis & Birger Wernerfelt, 1987. "Competitive Price and Quality Under Asymmetric Information," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 6(3), pages 240-253.
- Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1990. "Advertising and pricing to deter or accommodate entry when demand is unknown," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 93-113.
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