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Price Versus Quanitity: Market Cleaning Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality

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  • Andrew Metrick
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

High-quality producers in a vertically differentiated market can reap superior profits by charging higher prices, selling greater quantities, or both. If qualities are known by consumers and production costs are constant, then having a higher quality secures the producer both higher price and higher quantity; if marginal costs are rising, having a higher quality assures only higher price. If only some consumers can discern quality but others cannot, then high- and low-quality producers may set a common price, but the high-quality producer will sell more. In this context, quality begets quantity. Empirical analyses suggest that in both the mutual fund and automobile industries, high-quality producers sell more units than their low-quality competitors, but at no higher price (or markup) per unit.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Metrick & Richard Zeckhauser, 1996. "Price Versus Quanitity: Market Cleaning Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1775, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1775
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:blg:reveco:v:70:y:2018:i:3:p:65-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gil-Bazo, Javier & Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo, 2008. "When cheaper is better: Fee determination in the market for equity mutual funds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 871-885, September.
    3. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 2000. "Empirical Patterns of Firm Growth and R&D Investment: A Quality Ladder Model Interpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 363-387, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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