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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. Richard Arnott & Bruce Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1993. "Information and Economic Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 4533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Who wants a good reputation?," Working papers 19, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  4. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
  5. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
  6. Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn & Simon Board, 2009. "Reputation for Quality," 2009 Meeting Papers 160, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  8. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Prat, Julien, 2012. "Job market signaling and employer learning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1787-1817.
  9. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2007. "Reputations, Relationships, and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 595-628, September.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  14. Arilton Teixeira & Berthold Herrendorf, 2009. "Barriers to Entry and Development," Fucape Working Papers 22, Fucape Business School.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  19. Heski Bar-Isaac, 2003. "Reputation and Survival: Learning in a Dynamic Signalling Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 231-251.
  20. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
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