Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture
This paper derives conditions under which reputation enables certifiers to resist capture. These conditions alone have strong implications for the industrial organization of certification markets: 1) Honest certification requires high prices that may even exceed the static monopoly price. 2) Honest certification exhibits economies of scale and constitutes a natural monopoly. 3) Price competition tends to a monopolization. The results derive from a general principle of reputation models that favors concentration. This principle implies benefits from specialization and explains specialized certifiers as efficient market institutions that sell reputation as a service to other firms.
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