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Advertising as Information: Matching Products to Buyers


  • Bagwell, Kyle
  • Ramey, Garey


We consider communication of quality via cheap talk and dissipative advertising expenditures, when consumers have heterogeneous tastes for quality, and price information must be acquired through costly search. For search goods, cheap talk communicates quality when fixed costs are roughly constant across quality levels, while if fixed costs vary greatly with quality, then firms having the higher fixed-cost quality level use dissipative advertising. For experience goods, quality can be communicated by cheap talk in a range where low-quality firms have greater fixed costs, and low-quality firms use dissipative advertising if their fixed costs are greater still. Copyright 1993 by MIT Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1993. "Advertising as Information: Matching Products to Buyers," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 199-243, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:2:y:1993:i:2:p:199-243

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-450, June.
    2. Schmalensee, Richard, 1978. "A Model of Advertising and Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 485-503, June.
    3. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
    4. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:hoo:wpaper:91-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    8. Archibald, Robert B & Haulman, Clyde A & Moody, Carlisle E, Jr, 1983. " Quality, Price, Advertising, and Published Quality Ratings," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 347-356, March.
    9. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
    10. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bureau, J.-C. & Gozlan, E. & Marette, S., 1999. "Quality Signaling and International Trade in Food Products," Papers 99-13, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    2. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2012. "Persuasive Puffery," Working Papers 2012-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.

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