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An Empirical Investigation of Firms' Responses to Minimum Standards Regulations

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  • Tasneem Chipty
  • Ann Dryden Witte

Abstract

We study firms' responses to minimum standards and other forms of regulatory intervention on both the probability of exit and the distribution of observable product quality, using firm level data for a nationally representative sample of markets. Our empirical work is motivated by the literature on quality and price competition in the presence of minimum standards. We find that minimum standards increase the probability that firms exit certain markets. Moreover, we find that exit can cause both the average and the maximum quality observed in the market to decline. This perverse regulatory effect occurs when excessively high standards cause high quality firms to exit. When minimum standards do not lead to exit, minimum standards can increase the average and maximum quality of products in the market. Such standards can not only force low quality firms to raise their quality, but may cause high quality firms to increase quality, presumably in an attempt to alleviate price competition and differentiate themselves from their now higher quality rivals.

Suggested Citation

  • Tasneem Chipty & Ann Dryden Witte, 1997. "An Empirical Investigation of Firms' Responses to Minimum Standards Regulations," NBER Working Papers 6104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6104 Note: PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Crampes, Claude & Hollander, Abraham, 1995. "Duopoly and quality standards," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 71-82, January.
    2. Tasneem Chipty & Ann Dryden Witte, 1994. "Economic Effects of Quality Regulations in the Daycare Industry," NBER Working Papers 4953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gruenspecht, Howard K. & Lave, Lester B., 1989. "The economics of health, safety, and environmental regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 26, pages 1507-1550 Elsevier.
    4. Chipty, Tasneem, 1995. "Economic Effects of Quality Regulations in the Day-Care Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 419-424, May.
    5. Butler, J S & Moffitt, Robert, 1982. "A Computationally Efficient Quadrature Procedure for the One-Factor Multinomial Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 761-764, May.
    6. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boccard Nicolas & Wauthy Xavier Y., 2010. "Ensuring Quality Provision through Capacity Regulation under Price Competition," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, October.
    2. Rachel Gordon & P. Chase-Lansdale, 2001. "Availability of child care in the United States: A description and analysis of data sources," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(2), pages 299-316, May.
    3. V. Joseph Hotz & Mo Xiao, 2005. "The Impact of Minimum Quality Standards on Firm Entry, Exit and Product Quality: The Case of the Child Care Market," Working Papers 05-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Currie, Janet & Hotz, V. Joseph, 2004. "Accidents will happen?: Unintentional childhood injuries and the effects of child care regulations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 25-59, January.
    5. Tasneem Chipty & Ann Dryden Witte, 1998. "Effects of Information Provision in an Vertically Differentiated Market," NBER Working Papers 6493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Queralt, Magaly & Witte, Ann D., 1999. "Childcare regulations: A method to pursue social welfare goals?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 111-146, February.
    7. V. Joseph Hotz & Mo Xiao, 2011. "The Impact of Regulations on the Supply and Quality of Care in Child Care Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1775-1805, August.
    8. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2013. "Vertical product differentiation, minimum quality standards, and international trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 372-393, April.
    9. L. Lambertini & C. Scarpa, 1999. "Minimum Quality Standards and Predatory Behaviour," Working Papers 353, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    10. Stefan Napel & Gunnar Oldehaver, 2007. "Static Costs vs. Dynamic Benefits of a Minimum Quality Standard under Cournot Competition," Discussion Papers 23, Aboa Centre for Economics.

    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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