Secrecy and Safety
We employ a simple two-period model to show that the use of confidential settlement as a strategy for a firm facing tort litigation leads to lower average product safety than that which would be produced if a firm were committed to openness. Moreover, confidentiality can even lead to declining average product safety over time. We also show that a rational risk-neutral consumer's response to a market environment, wherein a firm engages in confidential settlement agreements, may be to reduce demand. We discuss how firm profitability is influenced by the decision to have open or confidential settlements; all else equal, a firm following a policy of openness will pay higher equilibrium wages and incur higher training costs, though product demand will not be diminished (as it may be for a firm employing confidentiality). Further, we characterize the choice of regime, providing conditions such that, if the cost of credible auditing (to verify openness) is low enough, a firm will choose to pay for auditing and eschew confidentiality.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2003|
|Date of revision:||Sep 2003|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html|
References listed on IDEAS
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- Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1995.
"Product Safety: Liability, R&D, and Signaling,"
American Economic Review,
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- Kyle Bagwell, 1991. "Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality," Discussion Papers 921, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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- Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-239, March.
- Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
- In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2002. "Informational Externalities in Settlement Bargaining: Confidentiality and Correlated Culpability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 587-604, Winter.
- repec:hoo:wpaper:e-91-11 is not listed on IDEAS
- Mark N. Hertzendorf, 1993. "I'm Not a High-Quality Firm -- But I Play One on TV," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 236-247, Summer.
- Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
- Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sobel, Joel., 1985. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Working Papers 565, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Jennifer F. Reinganum & Louise L. Wilde, 1986. "Settlement, Litigation, and the Allocation of Litigation Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 557-566, Winter. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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