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Quality Provision, Expected Firm Altruism and Brand Extensions

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

Abstract

This paper studies quality choice in a model where consumers expect firms (or brands) to act altruistically. Under plausible assumptions regarding this altruism and the reaction of consumers to firms that demonstrate insufficient altruism, existing brands can face a larger demand for new products than new entrants. Moreover, the failure of new products can reduce the demand for a brand's existing products even if the quality of these existing products is well understood by consumers. The model provides an interpretation for the dependence of the success of brand extensions on the ``fit" between the original product and the extension. The model can also explain why a ``high-end" brand that is expected to care only for its most quality sensitive customers can have an advantage in introducing a product relative to a brand that is expected to be more widely altruistic.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Rotemberg, 2010. "Quality Provision, Expected Firm Altruism and Brand Extensions," NBER Working Papers 15635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15635
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15635.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
    2. Luis M.B. Cabral, 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 658-673, Winter.
    3. Jay Pil Choi, 1998. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 655-669.
    4. Eric T. Anderson & Duncan I. Simester, 2010. "Price Stickiness and Customer Antagonism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 729-765.
    5. repec:mes:jpneco:v:29:y:2001:i:5-6:p:3-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sullivan, Mary, 1990. "Measuring Image Spillovers in Umbrella-Branded Products," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(3), pages 309-329, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Birger Wernerfelt, 1988. "Umbrella Branding as a Signal of New Product Quality: An Example of Signalling by Posting a Bond," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 458-466, Autumn.
    9. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2008. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 457-476, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeanine Miklós-Thal, 2012. "Linking reputations through umbrella branding," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 335-374, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm

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