Monopoly provision of product quality with uninformed buyers
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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- Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
- 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.
- 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 461-83, December.
- 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.
- Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
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