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Counterfeiting and Consumption Externalities - A Closer Look

Counterfeiting of trademarked products is an increasing problem in national and international trade. We contribute to the analysis of how counterfeiting affects markets by extending the work of Grossman and Shapiro (1988a) on consumption externalities in prestige good markets. We model a general aversion towards large levels of output (denoted prestige externalities) interacting with a firm-specific aversion towards the presence of copies in particular (pirate externalities). The framework is used to examine several policy-relevant questions. First, we examine how market prices depend on these externalities and provide conditions for counterfeiting as an equilibrium outcome. Second, we compare market outcomes to outcomes in otherwise identical markets that are not subject to prestige externalities. Third, we describe how the substitutability between copies and originals are related to prestige- and pirate externalities respectively. Fourth, we compare market prices to prices chosen by a benevolent social planner. Finally, we re-visit some policy issues previously discussed in the literature.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2012:2.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 25 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2012_0002
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  2. Richardson, G., 2000. "Brand Names Before the Industrial Revolution," Papers 00-01-09, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  3. Hackner, Jonas & Nyberg, Sten, 1996. "Vanity and Congestion: A Study of Reciprocal Externalities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 97-111, February.
  4. Jen-Te Yao, 2005. "Counterfeiting and an Optimal Monitoring Policy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 95-114, January.
  5. Higgins, Richard S & Rubin, Paul H, 1986. "Counterfeit Goods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 211-30, October.
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