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Competition, Reputation and Cheating

  • P. Vanin

Under repeated market interaction, reputation and competition may drive out of the market those firms that do not comply with their quality promises. One may thus presume that competitive pressure improves average market quality. This paper shows that the opposite may be true in an endogenous entry, repeated interaction, linear demand oligopoly model, in which introductory prices may be used as quality signals. Cheating firms may enter the market, fool even rational consumers, and exit the market when discovered, implying a failure of the basic reputation mechanism and an increasing time path of prices. Markets for closer substitutes tend to have a lower initial average quality and less trusting consumers, whereas the number of competitors has no clear relationship with average quality.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 683.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:683
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  1. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Communicating quality: a unified model of disclosure and signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 973-989.
  2. Nancy A. Lutz, 1989. "Warranties as Signals under Consumer Moral Hazard," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 239-255, Summer.
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  4. repec:oup:restud:v:51:y:1984:i:2:p:197-207 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. P. Vanin, 2009. "Competition, Reputation and Compliance," Working Papers 682, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Daughety, Andrew F. & Reinganum, Jennifer F., 2007. "Competition and confidentiality: Signaling quality in a duopoly when there is universal private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 94-120, January.
  7. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521816632.
  8. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  9. Rachel E. Kranton, 2003. "Competition and the Incentive to Produce High Quality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(279), pages 385-404, 08.
  10. 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.
  11. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2005. "Imperfect Competition and Quality Signaling," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0520, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  12. Steffen Huck & Gabriele K. Ruchala & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2006. "Competition Fosters Trust," Discussion Papers 06-22, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  13. Bar-Isaac, Heski, 2005. "Imperfect competition and reputational commitment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 167-173, November.
  14. Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  18. Overgaard, Per Baltzer, 1994. "Equilibrium effects of potential entry when prices signal quality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 367-383, February.
  19. repec:oup:qjecon:v:98:y:1983:i:4:p:659-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
  21. 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.
  22. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  23. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919.
  24. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
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