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Does a Minimum Quality Standard Always Reduce the Price of High Quality Products?


  • Panzar John C

    () (University of Auckland)

  • Savage Ian

    () (Northwestern University)


This paper investigates the standard finding that instituting a minimum quality standard within a vertically differentiated market unambiguously benefits consumers of high quality products. A competitive model is specified in which random cost shocks lead some firms to cheat in equilibrium on their reputation for high quality. When cheating occurs, instituting or raising the level of a minimum standard can lead to the price of high quality products either increasing or decreasing. The effect of a minimum quality standard on the price of high quality products becomes an empirical rather than a theoretical issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Panzar John C & Savage Ian, 2011. "Does a Minimum Quality Standard Always Reduce the Price of High Quality Products?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-32, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, July.
    2. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
    3. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
    4. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2009. "Reputational Incentives for Restaurant Hygiene," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 237-267, February.
    5. Douglas Gale & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1994. "Price and Quality Cycles for Experience Goods," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 590-607, Winter.
    6. Franklin Allen, 1984. "Reputation and Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 311-327, Autumn.
    7. William P. Rogerson, 1983. "Reputation and Product Quality," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 508-516, Autumn.
    8. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    9. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
    10. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    11. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
    12. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:983-1005 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mihaela Schaar & Simpson Zhang, 2015. "A dynamic model of certification and reputation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(3), pages 509-541, April.

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