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Prices and quality signals

Author

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  • Voorneveld, Mark

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Weibull, Jörgen W.

    () (Department of Economics)

Abstract

We consider a market-for-lemons model where the seller is a price setter, and, in addition to observing the price, the buyer receives a private noisy signal of the product's quality, such as when a prospective buyer looks at a car or house for sale, or when an employer interviews a job candidate. Sufficient conditions are given for the existence of perfect Bayesian equilibria, and we analyze equilibrium prices, trading probabilities and gains of trade. In particular, we identify separating equilibria with partial and full adverse selection as well as pooling equilibria. We also study the role of the buyer's signal precision, from being completely uninformative (as in standard adverse-selection models) to being completely informative (as under symmetric information). The robustness of results for these two boundary cases is analyzed, and comparisons are made with established models of monopoly and perfect competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Voorneveld, Mark & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2004. "Prices and quality signals," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 551, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Jul 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0551
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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0551.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Jacobsen, Hans Jorgen & Jensen, Mogens & Sloth, Birgitte, 2001. "Evolutionary Learning in Signalling Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 34-63, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Riley, John G, 1979. "Informational Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 331-359, March.
    5. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-239, March.
    6. Hellwig, Martin, 1987. "Some recent developments in the theory of competition in markets with adverse selection ," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 319-325.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Martínez-Gorricho, 2012. "Beneficial consumer fraud," Working Papers. Serie AD 2012-13, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    lemons; noisy quality signal; adverse selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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