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Umbrella Branding and the Provision of Quality

  • Hendrik Hakenes
  • Martin Peitz

Consider a two-product firm that decides on the quality of each product. Product quality is unknown to consumers. If the firm sells both products under the same brand name, consumers adjust their beliefs about quality subject to the performance of both products. We show that if the probability that low quality will be detected is in an intermediate range, the firm produces high quality under umbrella branding whereas it would sell low quality in the absence of umbrella branding. Hence, umbrella branding mitigates the moral hazard problem. We also find that umbrella branding survives in asymmetric markets and that even unprofitable products may be used to stabilize the umbrella brand. However, umbrella branding does not necessarily imply high quality; the firm may choose low-quality products with positive probability.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1373.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1373
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  1. Sullivan, Mary, 1990. "Measuring Image Spillovers in Umbrella-Branded Products," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(3), pages 309-29, July.
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  9. Pil Choi, J., 1997. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," ISER Discussion Paper 0451, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  10. Lynne M. Pepall, 2002. "The Simple Economics of Brand Stretching," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(3), pages 535-552, July.
  11. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  12. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2001. "Optimal Brand Umbrella Size," Working Papers 01-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  15. Montgomery, Cynthia A & Wernerfelt, Birger, 1992. "Risk Reduction and Umbrella Branding," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(1), pages 31-50, January.
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