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Quality competition with profit constraints: Do non-profit firms provide higher quality than for-profit firms?

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Abstract

In many markets, such as education, health care and public utilities, firms are often profit-constrained either due to regulation or because they have non-profit status. At the same time such firms might have altruistic concerns towards consumers. In this paper we study semi-altruistic firms’ incentives to invest in quality and cost-reducing effort when facing constraints on the distribution of profits. Using a spatial competition framework, we derive the equilibrium outcomes under both quality competition with regulated prices and quality price competition. Profit constraints always lead to lower cost-efficiency, whereas the effects on quality and price are ambiguous. If altruism is high (low), profit-constrained firms offer higher (lower) quality and lower (higher) prices than firms that are not profit-constrained. Compared with the first-best outcome, the cost-efficiency of profit-constrained firms is too low, while quality might be over- or underprovided. Profit constraints may improve welfare and be a complement or substitute to a higher regulated price, depending on the degree of altruism.

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  • Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2011. "Quality competition with profit constraints: Do non-profit firms provide higher quality than for-profit firms?," NIPE Working Papers 05/2011, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  • Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:05/2011
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosella Levaggi & Marcello Montefiori, 2013. "Patient selection in a mixed oligopoly market for health care: the role of the soft budget constraint," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(1), pages 49-70, March.
    2. Berta, Paolo & Guerriero, Carla & Levaggi, Rosella, 2021. "Hospitals’ strategic behaviours and patient mobility: Evidence from Italy," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    3. Alessandro Fedele & Raffaele Miniaci, 2012. "Stakeholder Orientation and Capital Structure: Social Enterprises Versus For-profit Firms in the Italian Social Residential Service Sector," Euricse Working Papers 1233, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    4. Grytten, Ola H., 2012. "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism the Haugian Way," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 1/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    5. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "Quality competition with profit constraints," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 642-659.
    6. Paolo Berta & Carla Guerriero & Rosella Levaggi, 2018. "The dark side of fiscal federalism:evidence from hospital care in Italy," Working papers 72, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Profit constraints; Quality competition; Semi-altruistic providers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General

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