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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1373
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  1. E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 445, David K. Levine.
  2. Cabral, L.M.B., 2001. "Optimal Brand Umbrella Size," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 01-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  3. Lynne Pepall & Dan Richards, 1999. "The Simple Economics of "Brand-Stretching"," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9905, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  4. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  5. 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.
  6. Andersson, Fredrik, 2002. "Pooling reputations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 715-730, May.
  7. Birger Wernerfelt, 1988. "Umbrella Branding as a Signal of New Product Quality: An Example of Signalling by Posting a Bond," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 458-466, Autumn.
  8. 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.
  9. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 476-496, August.
  10. Cabral, L.M.B., 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 00-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  11. Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. repec:oup:restud:v:65:y:1998:i:4:p:655-69 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:98:y:1983:i:4:p:659-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  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.
  16. 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.
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