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Quality Leadership When Regulatory Standards Are Forthcoming

  • Lutz, Stefan
  • Lyon, Thomas P
  • Maxwell, John W

In many markets, governments set minimum quality standards while some sellers compete on the basis of quality by exceeding them. Such quality leadership strategies often win public acclaim, especially when they involve environmental attributes. Using a duopoly model of vertical product differentiation, we show that if the high-quality firm can commit to a quality level before regulations are promulgated, it induces the regulator to weaken standards, and welfare falls. Our results raise doubts about the social benefits of corporate self-regulation, and highlight the dangers of lengthy delays between legislative mandates for new regulations and their implementation. Copyright 2000 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Industrial Economics.

Volume (Year): 48 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 331-48

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:48:y:2000:i:3:p:331-48
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  1. Crampes, C. & Hollander, A., 1992. "Duopoly and Quality Standards," Papers 92.g, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  2. 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.
  3. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
  4. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
  5. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
  6. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
  7. Arora, Seema & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1995. "Toward a theoretical model of voluntary overcompliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 289-309, December.
  8. Ulrich Lehmann-Grube, 1997. "Strategic Choice of Quality When Quality is Costly: The Persistence of the High-Quality Advantage," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(2), pages 372-384, Summer.
  9. Hansen, Lars Gårn, 1997. "Environmental Regulation through Voluntary Agreements," MPRA Paper 47537, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 1999.
  10. Boom, Anette, 1995. "Asymmetric International Minimum Quality Standards and Vertical Differentiation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 101-19, March.
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