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Informational Opacity and Honest Certification

Author

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  • Martin Pollrich
  • Lilo Wagner

Abstract

This paper studies the interaction of information disclosure and reputational concerns in certification markets. We argue that by revealing less precise information a certifier reduces the threat of capture. Opaque disclosure rules may reduce profits but also constrain feasible bribes. For large discount factors a certifier is unconstrained in the choice of a disclosure rule and full disclosure maximizes profits. For intermediate discount factors, only less precise, such as noisy, disclosure rules are implementable. Our results suggest that contrary to the common view, coarse disclosure may be socially desirable. A ban may provoke market failure especially in industries where certifier reputational rents are low.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Pollrich & Lilo Wagner, 2013. "Informational Opacity and Honest Certification," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1291, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1291
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.419361.de/dp1291.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antoine Faure-Grimaud & Eloïc Peyrache & Lucía Quesada, 2009. "The ownership of ratings," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 234-257.
    2. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
    3. Langinier Corinne & Babcock Bruce A., 2008. "Agricultural Production Clubs: Viability and Welfare Implications," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-31, December.
    4. Strausz, Roland, 2005. "Honest certification and the threat of capture," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 45-62, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Loerke, Petra & Niedermayer, Andreas, 2015. "Crises and Rating Agencies," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 521, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Certification; bribery; reputation;

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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