Rivalry information acquisition and disclosure
In the recent past there have been numerous scandals around bad practices in the food industry. Although it can be easily rationalized why these bad practices have not been reported by the inflictors themselves, it is more difficult to understand why the non-inflicting competitors did not report their rivals conspicuous acts. In this paper we study these competitors incentives to acquire and to disclose information on the quality of their rivals products and how regulatory intervention may enhance information disclosure. Our model involves two firms that compete in prices within a differentiated product market, where the quality of one of the firms is publicly known while that of the other firm is unknown. Before the firms set their prices, the former firm has the possibility to acquire information on the quality of the latter firms product, and, if decided to do so, subsequently, the possibility to credibly reveal this information to the public. We find that low quality levels can be disclosed in a substitute market, but should not be expected to be disclosed in a complement market. Policies that mandate acquisition or disclosure may enhance disclosure of low quality levels, but fail to be welfare enhancing.
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