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Products Liability, Signaling and Disclosure

  • Andrew F. Daughety
  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

We examine the behavior of a firm that produces a product with a privately-observed safety attribute. Costly disclosure and price-signaling of safety are alternative firm strategies. The liability system and production cost determine the firm's full marginal cost. When the firm's full marginal cost is increasing (decreasing) in safety, a firm with a safer product will distort its price upward (downward) and will sometimes inefficiently choose to signal rather than disclose (to disclose rather than signal). We also allow for a small fraction of naively optimistic (pessimistic) consumers; this leads to less price distortion and decreased (increased) incentives to disclose.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 164 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 106-126

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200803)164:1_106:plsad_2.0.tx_2-i
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  1. Insuk Cheong & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2004. "Costly Information Disclosure in Oligopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 121-132, 03.
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  16. 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.
  17. Claude Fluet & Paolo G. Garella, 1999. "Advertising and Prices as Signals of Quality in a Regime of Price Rivalry," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9903, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
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