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Optimal regulation in the presence of reputation concerns

  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Christian Hellwig
  • Guillermo L. Ordonez

We study a market with free entry and exit of firms who can produce high-quality output by making a costly but efficient initial unobservable investment. If no learning about this investment occurs, an extreme “lemons problem” develops, no firm invests, and the market shuts down. Learning introduces reputation incentives such that a fraction of entrants do invest. If the market operates with spot prices, simple regulation can enhance the role of reputation to induce investment, thus mitigating the “lemons problem” and improving welfare.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 464.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:464
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  1. Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn & Simon Board, 2009. "Reputation for Quality," 2009 Meeting Papers 160, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Penn CARESS Working Papers a3e3219aee004bd237f8112f9, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Howard P. Marvel & Stephen McCafferty, 1984. "Resale Price Maintenance and Quality Certification," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 346-359, Autumn.
  4. Heski Bar-Isaac, 2003. "Reputation and Survival: Learning in a Dynamic Signalling Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 231-251, 04.
  5. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  6. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Prat, Julien, 2012. "Job market signaling and employer learning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1787-1817.
  7. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria With Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2069, David K. Levine.
  8. 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.
  9. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  10. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  11. Mailath, George J & Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation? Erratum," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 714, July.
  12. Johannes H�rner, 2002. "Reputation and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 644-663, June.
  13. Walter Garcia Fontes & Hugo Hopenhayn, 1992. "Entry restrictions and the determination of quality," Economics Working Papers 10, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. Arnott, Richard & Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1994. "Information and economic efficiency," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 77-82, March.
  15. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1981. "The Self-Regulating Profession," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 217-34, April.
  16. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  17. 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.
  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. Maksimovic, Vojislav & Titman, Sheridan, 1991. "Financial Policy and Reputation for Product Quality," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(1), pages 175-200.
  20. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2007. "Reputations, Relationships, and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 595-628, September.
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