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Quality Uncertainty with Imperfect Information Acquisition

  • Christopher Gertz

    (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)

We analyze a monopolistic model of quality uncertainty but with the possibility of information acquisition on the consumer side. Information is costly and its amount is chosen by the consumer. The analysis of Bayesian equilibria shows the possibility of three equilibrium classes, only one of which leaves positive utility to the consumer. The classic adverse selection results of these markets are weakened in this situation. We show that cheaper information does not necessarily benefit the consumer but can instead rule out the buyer-friendly and welfare maximizing equilibria. Moreover, making quality search arbitrarily efficient does not lead to sure selling of the high quality product. A sustainable adverse selection effect, though weaker than in the classical model, remains even in the limit.

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File URL: http://www.imw.uni-bielefeld.de/papers/files/imw-wp-487a.pdf
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File Function: Second version, 2014
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Paper provided by Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University in its series Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers with number 487.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bie:wpaper:487
Contact details of provider: Postal: Postfach 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld
Phone: +49(0)521-106-4907
Web page: http://www.imw.uni-bielefeld.de/

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  1. Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
  2. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  3. Adriani, Fabrizio & Deidda, Luca G., 2009. "Price signaling and the strategic benefits of price rigidities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 335-350, November.
  4. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  5. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Kihlstrom, Richard E, 1974. "A Bayesian Model of Demand for Information About Product Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(1), pages 99-118, February.
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