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Strategic Information Disclosure: The Case of Multi-Attribute Products with Heterogeneous Consumers


  • V. Joseph Hotz
  • Mo Xiao


We examine the incentives for firms to voluntarily disclose otherwise private information about the quality attributes of their products. In particular, we focus on the case of differentiated products with multiple attributes and heterogeneous consumers. We show that there exist certain configurations of consumers' multi-dimensional preferences under which a firm, no matter whether producing a high- or low-quality product, may choose not to reveal the quality even with zero disclosure costs. The failure of information unraveling arises when providing consumers with more information results in more elastic demand, which triggers more intensive price competition and leads to lower prices and profits for competing firms. As a result, the equilibrium in which disclosure is voluntary may diverge from that in which disclosure is mandatory.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Joseph Hotz & Mo Xiao, 2006. "Strategic Information Disclosure: The Case of Multi-Attribute Products with Heterogeneous Consumers," NBER Working Papers 11937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11937
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Andrew Postlewaite & Kotaro Suzumura, 1990. "Strategic Information Revelation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 25-47.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:806-824 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniel Halbheer & Florian Stahl & Oded Koenigsberg & Donald R. Lehmann, 2013. "Digital Content Strategies," Working Papers 329, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    3. Levent Celik, 2014. "Information Unraveling Revisited: Disclosure of Horizontal Attributes," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 113-136, March.
    4. Seth Freedman & Melissa Kearney & Mara Lederman, 2012. "Product Recalls, Imperfect Information, and Spillover Effects: Lessons from the Consumer Response to the 2007 Toy Recalls," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 499-516, May.
    5. Xiao, Mo, 2010. "Is quality accreditation effective? Evidence from the childcare market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 708-721, November.
    6. repec:bla:jindec:v:64:y:2016:i:4:p:589-620 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Communicating quality: a unified model of disclosure and signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 973-989.
    8. Janssen, Maarten, 2017. "Regulating False Discloure," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168159, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Simone Ghislandi & Michael Kuhn, 2016. "Asymmetric information in the regulation of the access to markets," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp219, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    10. Alipranti, Maria & Mitrokostas, Evangelos & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 2016. "Non-comparative and comparative advertising in oligopolistic markets," DICE Discussion Papers 231, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy

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