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Honest certification and the threat of capture

  • Strausz, Roland

This paper studies problems of capture in certification markets. It derives conditions under which reputation enables certifiers to resist capture. Moreover, it identifies a general principle of reputation models that favors concentration. This explains certifiers as efficient market institutions that sell reputation as a service to other firms. The analysis yields the following insights: 1) A demand for external certification exists, despite being costly and susceptibility to capture. 2) Low discount factors require a price of certification that exceeds the static monopoly price. 3) Price competition tends to a monopolization of certification markets. 4) Honest certification exhibits economies of scale and constitutes a natural monopoly.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 45-62

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:23:y:2005:i:1-2:p:45-62
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  2. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
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  4. 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 267-83, February.
  5. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
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  7. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  8. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  9. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making: A Theory of Regulatory Capture," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1089-127, November.
  10. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  11. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Khalil, Fahad & Lawarree, Jacques, 1995. "Collusive Auditors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 442-46, May.
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  15. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
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