Firms' ethics, consumer boycotts, and signalling
This paper develops a theory of consumer boycotts. To affect a firm's ethical behavior, moral consumers refuse to buy from an unethical firm. Consumers who do not care about ethical behavior may join the boycott to (falsely) signal that they do care, increasing the disciplinary power of consumer boycotts. In the firm's choice between ethical and unethical behavior, the optimality of mixed and pure strategies depends on the cost of producing ethically. In particular, when the cost is (relatively) low, ethical behavior arises from a prisoners' dilemma as the firm's optimal strategy.
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- Paul Klemperer, 1995. "Competition when Consumers have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 515-539.
- David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
- Robert Innes, 2006. "A Theory of Consumer Boycotts under Symmetric Information and Imperfect Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 355-381, 04.
- Andrea C. Morales, 2005. "Giving Firms an "E" for Effort: Consumer Responses to High-Effort Firms," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 806-812, 03.
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