IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/pseose/halshs-00736551.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Signaling Corporate Social Responsibility: Third-Party Certification vs. Brands

Author

Listed:
  • Fabrice Etilé

    () (ALISS - Alimentation et sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Sabrina Teyssier

    () (ALISS - Alimentation et sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

Abstract

For most consumers, Corporate Social Responsibility is a credence attribute of products, which can be signaled either through a label certified by a third party, or via unsubstantiated claims used as part of a brand-building strategy. These claims may, in theory, be regulated by reputation mechanisms and the awareness of NGOs and activists. We use an experimental posted-offer market with sellers and buyers to compare the impact of these signalling strategies on market efficiency. Both third-party certification and the possibility of CSRrelated brand building give rise to a separating equilibrium. However, only third-party certification clearly produces efficiency gains, by increasing CSR investments. In markets where reputation matters little, unsubstantiated claims can generate a 'halo' effect on consumers, whereby the latter are nudged into paying more for the same level of CSR investments by firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrice Etilé & Sabrina Teyssier, 2012. "Signaling Corporate Social Responsibility: Third-Party Certification vs. Brands," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00736551, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00736551
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00736551
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00736551/document
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Khosro Jahdi & Gaye Acikdilli, 2009. "Marketing Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Marriage of Convenience or Shotgun Wedding?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 103-113, August.
    2. Crampes, Claude & Hollander, Abraham, 1995. "Duopoly and quality standards," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 71-82, January.
    3. Timothy J. Feddersen & Thomas W. Gilligan, 2001. "Saints and Markets: Activists and the Supply of Credence Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 149-171, March.
    4. Klaus Conrad, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 1-19, May.
    5. Winand Emons, 1997. "Credence Goods and Fraudelent Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 107-119, Spring.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2007. "Retailing public goods: The economics of corporate social responsibility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1645-1663, September.
    7. Rode, Julian & Hogarth, Robin M. & Le Menestrel, Marc, 2008. "Ethical differentiation and market behavior: An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 265-280, May.
    8. Amacher, Gregory S. & Koskela, Erkki & Ollikainen, Markku, 2004. "Environmental quality competition and eco-labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 284-306, March.
    9. Forsythe, Robert & Lundholm, Russell & Rietz, Thomas, 1999. "Cheap Talk, Fraud, and Adverse Selection in Financial Markets: Some Experimental Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 481-518.
    10. David P. Baron, 2007. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 683-717, September.
    11. Rick Harbaugh & John W. Maxwell & Beatrice Roussillon, 2011. "Label Confusion: The Groucho Effect of Uncertain Standards," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1512-1527, February.
    12. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith, 1978. "An Experimental Examination of Two Exchange Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 133-153.
    13. David P. Baron, 2001. "Private Politics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Integrated Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 7-45, March.
    14. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Schilizzi, Steven G.M., 2003. "Quality Signaling through Certification. Theory and an Application to Agricultural Seed Market," IDEI Working Papers 165, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    15. Julie A. Caswell & Mary E. Bredahl & Neal H. Hooker, 1998. "How Quality Management Metasystems Are Affecting the Food Industry," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 20(2), pages 547-557.
    16. Monika Hartmann, 2011. "Corporate social responsibility in the food sector," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 38(3), pages 297-324, August.
    17. Holt, Charles A & Sherman, Roger, 1990. "Advertising and Product Quality in Posted-Offer Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 39-56, January.
    18. Henrik Vetter & Kostas Karantininis, 2002. "Moral hazard, vertical integration, and public monitoring in credence goods," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 271-279, June.
    19. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2011. "Greenwash: Corporate Environmental Disclosure under Threat of Audit," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 3-41, March.
    20. Matthews, Steven A. & Okuno-Fujiwara, Masahiro & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1991. "Refining cheap-talk equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 247-273, December.
    21. Klaus CONRAD, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation when Goods have Network Effects," Industrial Organization 0502002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    23. Miller, Ross M & Plott, Charles R, 1985. "Product Quality Signaling in Experimental Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 837-872, July.
    24. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2002. "Environmental Labeling and Incomplete Consumer Information in Laboratory Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 113-134, January.
    25. 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.
    26. DeJong, Douglas V & Forsythe, Robert & Lundholm, Russell J, 1985. " Ripoffs, Lemons, and Reputation Formation in Agency Relationships: A Laboratory Market Study," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 809-820, July.
    27. McCluskey, Jill J., 2000. "A Game Theoretic Approach to Organic Foods: An Analysis of Asymmetric Information and Policy," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-9, April.
    28. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    29. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The Economics of Credence Goods: An Experiment on the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 526-555, April.
    30. 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.
    31. Brian Roe & Ian Sheldon, 2007. "Credence Good Labeling: The Efficiency and Distributional Implications of Several Policy Approaches," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 1020-1033.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00736551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.