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Quality signaling and international trade in food products

Focusing on the issue of food safety, the authors consider a framework of repeated purchases under the scenario of imperfect information on product quality (adverse selection and experience goods). A firm in a northern country can more easily detect tainted products than can a southern one. When imports are banned, the northern firm does not always signal the actual quality of its products. Competition from imports may lead the northern firm to test the quality of its products as a way to differentiate itself from foreign competitors. Consumers benefit from the disclosure of information on quality, even though borders are open to products of uncertain quality. However, competition from imports also increases the cost of signaling high quality. This can be detrimental to the welfare of the importing country when the cost of detection is high.

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Paper provided by THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise in its series THEMA Working Papers with number 99-13.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:99-13
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  1. Copeland, Brian R. & Kotwal, Ashok, 1996. "Product quality and the theory of comparative advantage," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1745-1760, December.
  2. Hayes, Dermot J. & Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Kliebenstein, James, 1995. "Valuing Food Safety in Experimental Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 835, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "The Role Of Export Subsisies When Product Quality Is Unknown," NBER Working Papers 2584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  5. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1992. "Advertising as Information: Matching Products to Buyers," Discussion Papers 1005, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. 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.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Counterfeit-Product Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 59-75, March.
  8. Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
  9. Steven Shavell, 1994. "Acquisition and Disclosure of Information Prior to Sale," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 20-36, Spring.
  10. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  11. Donze, J., 1996. "Refining in Continuous Signaling Games Satisfying the Single-Crossing Condition," Papers 976.422, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  12. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  13. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Quality and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Falvey, Rodney E, 1989. "Trade, Quality Reputations and Commercial Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(3), pages 607-22, August.
  15. Julie A. Caswell & Neal H. Hooker, 1996. "HACCP as an International Trade Standard," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 775-779.
  16. Doughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1997. "Everybody Out of the Pool: Products Liability, Punitive Damages, and Competition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 410-32, October.
  17. Daughety, Andrew & Reinganum, Jennifer, 1992. "Product Safety: Liability, R & D and Signaling," Working Papers 94-17, University of Iowa, Department of Economics, revised 1994.
  18. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  19. Donnenfeld, Shabtai & Weber, Shlomo & Ben-Zion, Uri, 1985. "Import controls under imperfect information," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 341-354, November.
  20. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  21. Donnenfeld, Shabtai, 1986. "Intra-industry trade and imperfect information about product quality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 401-417, April.
  22. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
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