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Imperfect Certification

  • Yiquan Gu

    ()

This paper proposes a model for a certification market with an imperfect testing technology. Such a technology only assures that whenever two products are tested the higher quality product is more likely to pass than the lower quality one.When only one certifier with such testing technology is present in the market, it is found that this monopoly certifier can be completely ignored in equilibrium, in contrast to the prediction of a model with perfect testing technology. A separating equilibrium is also supported in which only relatively high quality types (products) choose to pay for the certification service. It is true that in such an equilibrium having a certificate is better than not. The exact value of a certificate, however, depends both on the prior distribution of product quality and the nature of the testing technology.Welfare accounting shows that the monopolistic certifier’s profit maximizing conduct can lead to under or over supply of certification service depending on model specification. Optimal certification fee is always positive and such that it makes all positive types choose to test. In the case of two competing certifiers with identical testing technologies, the intuition of Bertrand competition does not necessarily hold. Segmentation equilibrium in which higher seller types choose the more expensive certification service and not so high types choose the less expensive service can be supported. As an application, we argue that the fee differentiation between major and non-major auditing firms need not be a result of any differences in their auditing technologies.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0078.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0078
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  1. 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.
  2. Sattar A. Mansi & William F. Maxwell & Darius P. Miller, 2004. "Does Auditor Quality and Tenure Matter to Investors? Evidence from the Bond Market," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 755-793, 09.
  3. Anette Boom, . "A Monopolistic Credit Rating Agency," Papers 011, Departmental Working Papers.
  4. Strausz, Roland, 2004. "Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 25, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  6. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  7. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-83, February.
  8. DeAngelo, Linda Elizabeth, 1981. "Auditor size and audit quality," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 183-199, December.
  9. Hvide, Hans K., 2004. "A Theory of Certification with an Application to the Market for Auditing Services," Discussion Papers 2004/10, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
  10. De, Sankar & Nabar, Prafulla, 1991. "Economic implications of imperfect quality certification," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 333-337, December.
  11. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
  12. Mason, Charles F & Sterbenz, Frederic P, 1994. "Imperfect Product Testing and Market Size," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 61-86, February.
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