IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v70y2014icp493-511.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Certification and minimum quality standards when some consumers are uninformed

Author

Listed:
  • Buehler, Benno
  • Schuett, Florian

Abstract

We compare certification to a minimum quality standard (MQS) policy in a duopolistic industry where firms incur quality-dependent fixed costs and only a fraction of consumers observe the quality of the offered goods. Compared to the unregulated outcome, both profits and social welfare would increase if firms could commit to producing a higher quality. An MQS restricts the firms׳ quality choice and leads to less differentiated goods. This fuels competition and may therefore deter entry. A certification policy, which awards firms with a certificate if the quality of their products exceeds some threshold, does not restrict the firms׳ quality choice. In contrast to an MQS, certification may lead to more differentiated goods and higher profits. We find that firms are willing to comply with an ambitious certification standard if the share of informed consumers is small. In that case, certification is more effective from a welfare perspective than a minimum quality standard because it is less detrimental to entry.

Suggested Citation

  • Buehler, Benno & Schuett, Florian, 2014. "Certification and minimum quality standards when some consumers are uninformed," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 493-511.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:70:y:2014:i:c:p:493-511
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.06.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292114000944
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    2. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
    3. Fluet, Claude & Garella, Paolo G., 2002. "Advertising and prices as signals of quality in a regime of price rivalry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 907-930, September.
    4. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2012. "The optimal choice of pre-launch reviewer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 1247-1260.
    5. Wauthy, Xavier, 1996. "Quality Choice in Models of Vertical Differentiation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 345-353, September.
    6. Crampes, Claude & Hollander, Abraham, 1995. "Duopoly and quality standards," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 71-82, January.
    7. Esther Gal-Or, 1989. "Warranties as a Signal of Quality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(1), pages 50-61, February.
    8. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Roy, Santanu, 2010. "Signaling quality through prices in an oligopoly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 192-207, January.
    9. Gehrig, Thomas & Jost, Peter-J, 1995. "Quacks, Lemons, and Self Regulation: A Welfare Analysis," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 309-325, May.
    10. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "A Primer on Foreclosure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    11. 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.
    12. Heyes, Anthony G. & Maxwell, John W., 2004. "Private vs. public regulation: political economy of the international environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 978-996, September.
    13. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-131, June.
    14. Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
    15. Kuhn, Michael, 2007. "Minimum quality standards and market dominance in vertically differentiated duopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 275-290, April.
    16. Yaron Yehezkel, 2008. "Signaling Quality in an Oligopoly When Some Consumers Are Informed," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 937-972, December.
    17. Carl Shapiro, 1982. "Consumer Information, Product Quality, and Seller Reputation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 20-35, Spring.
    18. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    19. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Imperfect competition and quality signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 163-183.
    20. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-1346, December.
    21. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Communicating quality: a unified model of disclosure and signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 973-989.
    22. Choi, Chong Ju & Shin, Hyun Song, 1992. "A Comment on a Model of Vertical Product Differentiation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 229-231, June.
    23. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, I: Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26.
    24. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    25. Valletti, Tommaso M, 2000. "Minimum Quality Standards under Cournot Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 235-245, November.
    26. Philip J. Reny, 1999. "On the Existence of Pure and Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibria in Discontinuous Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1029-1056, September.
    27. 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.
    28. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
    29. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-283, February.
    30. Strausz, Roland, 2005. "Honest certification and the threat of capture," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 45-62, February.
    31. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, II: Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 27-41.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Simona Grassi & Ching-to Albert Ma, 2016. "Information acquisition, referral, and organization," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(4), pages 935-960, November.
    2. Larry G. Epstein & Hiroaki Kaido & Kyoungwon Seo, 2016. "Robust Confidence Regions for Incomplete Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1799-1838, September.
    3. de Cornière, Alexandre & Taylor, Greg, 2016. "A Model of Biased Intermediation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Pollrich, Martin & Wagner, Lilo, 2016. "Imprecise information disclosure and truthful certification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 345-360.
    5. Jon X. Eguia & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Rebecca Morton & Antonio Nicol�, 2014. "Equilibrium Selection in Sequential Games with Imperfect Information," Working Papers 717, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    6. Prüfer, J.O., 2014. "Trusting Privacy in the Cloud," Discussion Paper 2014-047, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Certification; Minimum quality standard; Unobservable quality; Policy intervention;

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:70:y:2014:i:c:p:493-511. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.