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The Superiority of Tough Reviewers in a Model of Simultaneous Sales


  • Gill, D.
  • Sgroi, D.


This paper considers the impact of reviewers on the sale of a product of unknown quality. Sales occur simultaneously after an initial review by an unbiased, pessimistic or optimistic reviewer and we examine the impact on sales in each case. We find that counter-intuitively a pessimistic reviewer is best for the firm's profits regardless of the quality of the product. An endorsement by such a pessimist provides an excellent signal of the product's quality, while consumers expect the reviewer to fail to endorse, so receiving no endorsement will not impact too heavily on the firm's expected profits. This asymmetric impact provides a strong explanation for the stylized fact that reviewers are often viewed as being very critical.

Suggested Citation

  • Gill, D. & Sgroi, D., 2003. "The Superiority of Tough Reviewers in a Model of Simultaneous Sales," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0335, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0335
    Note: IO, ET

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell & Christopher R. Knittel, 1999. "Market Power in Electricity Markets: Beyond Concentration Measures," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 65-88.
    3. Jay Morse, 1997. "Regulatory Policy Regarding Distributed Generation by Utilities: The Impact of Restructuring," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 187-210.
    4. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Stirling, Andrew, 1997. "Limits to the value of external costs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 517-540, April.
    6. Baumol, William J & Bradford, David F, 1970. "Optimal Departures from Marginal Cost Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 265-283, June.
    7. Richard Schmalensee, 1993. "Symposium on Global Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 3-10, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2013. "Fear of rejection? Tiered certification and transparency," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 610-631, December.
    2. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2006. "A Model of Forum Shopping," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    3. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "Sequential decisions with tests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 663-678, July.

    More about this item


    private information; reviewers; bias; simultaneous sales; marketing;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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