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Credence Goods, Efficient Labelling Policies, and Regulatory Enforcement

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  • Soham Baksi

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  • Pinaki Bose

Abstract

We analyse the optimality of information revelation of hidden attributes of “credence goods” via alternative labelling procedures. When consumers are heterogeneous in their willingness to pay for the hidden attribute, producers can either self-label their products, or have them certified by a third party. The government can impose self or third party labelling requirements on either the “green” or the “brown” producers. Our benchmark model develops a condition that links the optimal imposition of third party labelling to the relative market share of each type of the good under complete information. We extend our analysis to incorporate asymmetric information and cheating by the producers. When corrupt producers can affix spurious labels, the government needs to supplement the labelling policy with costly monitoring activities. We find that mandatory self-labelling schemes generally dominate mandatory third party labelling, unless the “market share effect” greatly exceeds the “incentive-to-cheat effect”. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Soham Baksi & Pinaki Bose, 2007. "Credence Goods, Efficient Labelling Policies, and Regulatory Enforcement," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(2), pages 411-430, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:37:y:2007:i:2:p:411-430
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-006-9032-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heyes, Anthony G. & Maxwell, John W., 2004. "Private vs. public regulation: political economy of the international environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 978-996, September.
    2. Amacher, Gregory S. & Koskela, Erkki & Ollikainen, Markku, 2004. "Environmental quality competition and eco-labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 284-306, March.
    3. Tom Tietenberg, 1998. "Disclosure Strategies for Pollution Control," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 587-602, April.
    4. Stefanie Kirchhoff, 2000. "Green Business and Blue Angels," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 15(4), pages 403-420, April.
    5. Kirchhoff, Stefanie & Zago, Angelo M., 2001. "A Simple Model Of Voluntary Vs Mandatory Labelling Of Gmos," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20540, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    6. Mads Greaker, 2006. "Eco-labels, Trade and Protectionism," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(1), pages 1-37, January.
    7. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-891, December.
    8. Grieson, Ronald E. & Singh, Nirvikar, 1990. "Regulating externalities through testing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 369-387, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brécard, Dorothée, 2014. "Consumer confusion over the profusion of eco-labels: Lessons from a double differentiation model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 64-84.
    2. Sabyasachi Das, 2016. "Certification Under Oligopolistic Competition," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(1), pages 251-271, September.
    3. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The Economics of Credence Goods: An Experiment on the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 526-555, April.
    4. Olivier Bonroy & Christos Constantatos, 2015. "On the Economics of Labels: How Their Introduction Affects the Functioning of Markets and the Welfare of All Participants," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 97(1), pages 239-259.
    5. Constantine Manasakis & Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2013. "Certification of corporate social responsibility activities in oligopolistic markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 282-309, February.
    6. Charles Mason, 2011. "Eco-Labeling and Market Equilibria with Noisy Certification Tests," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(4), pages 537-560, April.
    7. De Marchi, Valentina, 2012. "Environmental innovation and R&D cooperation: Empirical evidence from Spanish manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 614-623.
    8. repec:gbl:wpaper:2013-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Carmen Arguedas & Esther Blanco, 2014. "Incentives for Voluntary Practices, Fraud, and Certification," Working Papers 2014-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    10. Krautheim, Sebastian & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization, Credence Goods and International Civil Society," CEPR Discussion Papers 9232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Arminda Finisterra do Paço & Mário Raposo, 2008. "Determining the characteristics to profile the “green” consumer: an exploratory approach," International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, Springer;International Association of Public and Non-Profit Marketing, vol. 5(2), pages 129-140, December.
    12. Cohen, Mark A. & Vandenbergh, Michael P., 2012. "The potential role of carbon labeling in a green economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages 53-63.
    13. Schumacher, Ingmar, 2010. "Ecolabeling, consumers' preferences and taxation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2202-2212, September.
    14. Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2008. "Private CSR Activities in Oligopolistic Markets: Is There Any Room for Regulation?," Working Papers 0816, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
    15. Charu Grover & Sangeeta Bansal, "undated". "Imperfect Certification under Cournot Duopoly," Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Discussion Papers 15-03, Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
    16. Etilé, Fabrice & Teyssier, Sabrina, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and the economics of consumer social responsibility," Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, Editions NecPlus, vol. 94(02), pages 221-259, June.
    17. Yuki Yamamoto & Kenji Takeuchi & Takayoshi Shinkuma, 2012. "Are There Price Premiums for Certified Wood?Empirical Evidence from Log Auction Data in Japan," Discussion Papers 1209, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    18. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0024-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Yenipazarli, Arda, 2015. "The economics of eco-labeling: Standards, costs and prices," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(PA), pages 275-286.
    20. Rutherford, William & McGimpsey, William & Narayan, Prakash, 2013. "Evaluation of New Zealand’s regulatory framework to support the reputation of horticultural commodity exports," 2013 Conference, August 28-30, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand 187038, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    21. Gaëlle Balineau & Ivan Dufeu, 2010. "Are Fair Trade Goods Credence Goods? A New Proposal, with French Illustrations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 331-345, April.
    22. Arguedas, Carmen & Blanco, Esther, 2014. "On Fraud and Certification of Corporate Social Responsibility," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2014/02, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    23. Ibrahima BARRY & Olivier BONROY & Paolo G. GARELLA, 2014. "Labelling by a for-Profit Certifier," Departmental Working Papers 2014-07, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano, revised 27 Feb 2016.
    24. Bonroy, Olivier & Garapin, Alexis & Hamilton, Stephen F. & Souza Monteiro, Diogo M., 2015. "Mislabelling in Collective Labels: an experimental analysis," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205482, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    25. Alexander W. Cappelen & Tone Ognedal, 2017. "Certification and socially responsible production," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 71-84, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; credence goods; eco-labelling; monitoring; self-labelling; third party labelling; Q58; L15; D82;

    JEL classification:

    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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