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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.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

Volume (Year): 2 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 199-243

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:2:y:1993:i:2:p:199-243
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  1. 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.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81, January.
  3. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-50, June.
  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. 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.
  6. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
  7. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Advertising and Coordination," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 153-72, January.
  8. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Archibald, Robert B & Haulman, Clyde A & Moody, Carlisle E, Jr, 1983. " Quality, Price, Advertising, and Published Quality Ratings," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 347-56, March.
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