Standards, Voluntary Labels, and International Trade
We develop a vertical differentiation model for the setting of standards and labeling in an international economy with two countries, North (N) and South (S) under two regimes: Autarky and International Trade. We assume that a firm in country S has a comparative advantage in producing low quality goods while a firm in country N has comparative advantage in producing high quality goods. Under Autarky each country sets a specific standard and the domestic firm behaves as a monopolist. Under International Trade both countries agree on harmonized standards and firms compete in the unified market. We show that standards harmonization is welfare enhancing compared to the Autarky scenario and that the introduction of a national label in country N does not lead to a Pareto improvement in country S. Consumers in both countries will be worse off with the introduction of the label, for low levels of firm S's comparative advantage.
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Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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