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Monopoly provision of product quality with uninformed buyers

Author

Listed:
  • Cooper, Russell
  • Ross, Thomas W.

Abstract

This essay is concerned with a monopolist's incentives to provide a high quality goods when some of its customers cannot observe quality prior to purchase. We show that if all buyers have the same tastes for quality, the monopolist will not try to take advantage of the poorly informed. When tastes differ, however, some quality randomization may become profitable as a means to loosen binding self-selection constraints. The profitability of randomization is shown to depend upon the relative degrees of risk aversion of the buyers and on the convexity of the firm's cost of quality function. We view our results as pointing to some potential benefits from imperfect quality control.
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Suggested Citation

  • Cooper, Russell & Ross, Thomas W., 1985. "Monopoly provision of product quality with uninformed buyers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 439-449, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:3:y:1985:i:4:p:439-449
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-483, December.
    2. Russell Cooper & Thomas W. Ross, 1984. "Prices, Product Qualities and Asymmetric Information: The Competitive Case," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 197-207.
    3. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    4. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
    5. Yuk-Shee Chan & Hayne Leland, 1982. "Prices and Qualities in Markets with Costly Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 499-516.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1995. "Product Safety: Liability, R&D, and Signaling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1187-1206, December.
    2. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-239, March.
    3. Bester, Helmut & Ritzberger, Klaus, 2001. "Strategic pricing, signalling, and costly information acquisition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1347-1361, November.
    4. Oren Gazal-Ayal, 2007. "Economic analysis of standard form contracts: the monopoly case," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 119-136, October.
    5. Thomas Liebi, 2003. "The Demand for Tests," Diskussionsschriften dp0307, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    6. Takaoka, Sumiko, 2005. "The effects of product liability costs on R&D with asymmetric information," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 59-81, January.
    7. Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
    8. Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose Luis, 2000. "Quality uncertainty and informative advertising," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 615-640, May.
    9. Jess Benhabib & Feng Dong & Pengfei Wang, 2014. "Adverse Selection and Self-fulfilling Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 20642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Moraga González, José Luis, 1997. "Quality uncetainty and informative advertising," UC3M Working papers. Economics 6040, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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