Minimum Quality Standards and ConsumersÕ Information
The literature so far has analyzed the effects of Minimum Quality Standards (MQS) in oligopoly, using models of pure vertical differentiation, with only two firms, and perfect information. We consider products that are differentiated horizontally and vertically, with imperfect consumers' information, and more than two firms. We show that a MQS changes the consumers' perception of produced qualities. This increases the firms' returns from quality enhancing investments, notwithstanding contrary strategic effects. Our analysis justifies the use of MQS in industries where consumers cannot precisely ascertain the quality of goods, for instance pharmaceuticals or products with chemical components involved
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