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Welchen Zusammenhang zwischen Preis und Qualität sollte der Wettbewerb auf Konsumgütermärkten herstellen? / Which Price-Quality Relationship Should Competition Induce on Consumer Goods Markets ?: Empirische Befunde, normative Überlegungen, marktpolitische Schlussfolgerungen


  • Imkamp Heiner

    () (Universität Hohenheim, Institut für Haushalts- und Konsumökonomik (530), 70593 Stuttgart, Germany)


Not only that consumers take it often for granted that product prices are good indicators of product quality, but also many experts in consumer economics expect a high positive price-quality relationship. However, for more than 50 years numerous studies in more than 10 countries all over the world have shown low price-quality correlation coefficients, mostly close to 0.2. These results have been interpreted twofold: (a) consumers cannot use prices as valid indicators of quality and (b) markets do not function well. In contrast to the second interpretation, this paper argues that, according to the economic theory of price formation, prices are not an indicator of quality, but an indicator of scarcity. This allows the conclusion that workable consumer goods markets, as seen from a welfare point of view, should be characterized by low or even negative correlations between price and objective quality rather than by strong positive coefficients. All the more it is the availability of valid information about product quality which is necessary to enable consumers to avoid inefficient product choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Imkamp Heiner, 2009. "Welchen Zusammenhang zwischen Preis und Qualität sollte der Wettbewerb auf Konsumgütermärkten herstellen? / Which Price-Quality Relationship Should Competition Induce on Consumer Goods Markets ?: Empi," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(4), pages 410-425, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:229:y:2009:i:4:p:410-425

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schulze, Holger & Spiller, Achim & Bohm, Justus & de Witte, Thomas, 2008. "Ist Geiz wirklich geil? Preis-Qualitäts-Relationen von Hersteller- und Handelsmarken im Lebensmittelmarkt," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 57(6).
    2. Heiner Imkamp, 2008. "A New Look at Old Coefficients," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 139-145, June.
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