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Counterfeit-Product Trade

  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Carl Shapiro

We analyze a two-country model of trade in both legitimate and counterfeit products. Domestic firms own trademarks and establish reputations for delivering high-quality products in a steady-state equilibrium. Foreign suppliers export legitimate low-quality merchandise and counterfeits of domestic brand-name goods. Heterogeneous home consumers either purchase low-quality imports or buy brand-name products, rationally expecting some degree of counterfeiting of the latter. We characterize a counterfeiting equilibrium and explore its properties. We describe the positive and normative effects of counterfeiting in comparison with a no-counterfeiting benchmark. Finally, we provide a welfare analysis of border inspection policy and of policy regarding the disposition of counterfeit goods that are confiscated at the border.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1876.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1876.

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Date of creation: Mar 1986
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Economic Review, Vol. 78, No. 1, March 1988, pp. 59-75.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1876
Note: ITI IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Franklin Allen, 1984. "Reputation and Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 311-327, Autumn.
  2. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  3. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  4. Carl Shapiro, 1982. "Consumer Information, Product Quality, and Seller Reputation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 20-35, Spring.
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