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Umbrella Branding and the Provision of Quality

  • Hakenes, Hendrik
  • Peitz, Martin

Consider a two-product firm that decides on the quality of each product. Product quality is unknown to consumers. If the firm sells both products under the same brand name, consumers adjust their beliefs about quality subject to the performance of both products. We show that if the probability that low quality will be detected is in an intermediate range, the firm produces high quality under umbrella branding whereas it would sell low quality in the absence of umbrella branding. Hence, umbrella branding mitigates the moral hazard problem. We also find that umbrella branding survives in asymmetric markets and that even unprofitable products may be used to stabilize the umbrella brand. However, umbrella branding does not necessarily imply high quality; the firm may choose low-quality products with positive probability.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 132.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:132
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  1. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  2. Cabral, L.M.B., 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 00-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  3. Pil Choi, J., 1997. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," ISER Discussion Paper 0451, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  4. Montgomery, Cynthia A & Wernerfelt, Birger, 1992. "Risk Reduction and Umbrella Branding," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(1), pages 31-50, January.
  5. E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 445, David K. Levine.
  6. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  7. Andersson, Fredrik, 2002. "Pooling reputations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 715-730, May.
  8. Lynne Pepall & Dan Richards, 1999. "The Simple Economics of "Brand-Stretching"," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9905, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  10. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Cabral, L.M.B., 2001. "Optimal Brand Umbrella Size," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 01-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  13. van Damme, E.E.C., 1989. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Other publications TiSEM bd598a8f-f017-4cab-a9ed-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  14. 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.
  15. Sullivan, Mary, 1990. "Measuring Image Spillovers in Umbrella-Branded Products," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(3), pages 309-29, July.
  16. 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.
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