IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/van/wpaper/0417.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Competition and Confidentiality: Signaling Quality in a Duopoly when there is Universal Private Information

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew F. Daughety

    () (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University)

  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

    () (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

How does the need to signal quality through price affect equilibrium pricing and profits, when a firm faces a similarly-situated rival? In this paper, we provide a model of non-cooperative signaling by two firms that compete over a continuum of consumers. We assume "universal incomplete information;" that is, each market participant has some private information: each consumer has private information about the intensity of her preferences for the firms' respective products and each firm has private information about its own product's quality. We characterize a symmetric separating equilibrium in which each firm's price reveals its respective product quality. We focus mainly on a model in which the quality attribute is safety (so that the legal system is brought into play) and quality is unobservable due to the use of confidential settlements; a particular specification of parameters yields a common model from the industrial organization literature in which quality is interpreted as the probability that a consumer will find the good satisfactory. We show that the equilibrium prices, the difference between those prices, the associated outputs, and profits are all increasing functions of the ex ante probability of high safety. When quality is interpreted as consumer satisfaction, unobservable quality causes all prices to be distorted upward, and lowers average quality and ex ante expected social welfare, but increases ex ante expected firm profits (when either the probability of high quality or the extent of horizontal product differentiation is sufficiently high). When quality is interpreted as product safety, the foregoing results are modified in that for some parameter values ex ante expected social welfare is higher under confidentiality because such legal secrecy lowers expected litigation costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2004. "Competition and Confidentiality: Signaling Quality in a Duopoly when there is Universal Private Information," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0417, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0417
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu04-w17.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2004
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1995. "Product Safety: Liability, R&D, and Signaling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1187-1206, December.
    2. Orzach, Ram & Tauman, Yair, 1996. "Signalling Reversal," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 453-464, May.
    3. Mailath, George J., 1988. "An abstract two-period game with simultaneous signaling--Existence of separating equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 373-394, December.
    4. Fluet, Claude & Garella, Paolo G., 2002. "Advertising and prices as signals of quality in a regime of price rivalry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 907-930, September.
    5. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1991. "Oligopoly Limit Pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 155-172, Summer.
    6. Das Varma, Gopal, 2003. "Bidding for a process innovation under alternative modes of competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 15-37, January.
    7. Yang, Bill Z., 1996. "Litigation, experimentation, and reputation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 491-502, December.
    8. Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
    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. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2005. "Secrecy and Safety," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1074-1091, September.
    11. Laurent Linnemer, 1998. "Entry Deterrence, Product Quality: Price and Advertising as Signals," Post-Print hal-01629766, HAL.
    12. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    13. 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.
    14. Matthews, Steven A & Mirman, Leonard J, 1983. "Equilibrium Limit Pricing: The Effects of Private Information and Stochastic Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 981-996, July.
    15. 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.
    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 615-641, August.
    17. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
    18. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, January.
    19. Bagwell, Kyle, 1992. "Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 151-174, Spring.
    20. Laurent Linnemer, 1998. "Entry Deterrence, Product Quality: Price and Advertising as Signals," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 615-645, December.
    21. 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.
    22. Mark N. Herzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Prices as Signals of Quality in Duopoly," CIE Discussion Papers 2001-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
    23. Nancy A. Lutz, 1989. "Warranties as Signals under Consumer Moral Hazard," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 239-255, Summer.
    24. 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.
    25. Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1987. "Oligopolistic Entry Deterrence under Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 211-231, Summer.
    26. George J. Mailath, 1989. "Simultaneous Signaling in an Oligopoly Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 417-427.
    27. Martin, Stephen, 1995. "Oligopoly limit pricing: Strategic substitutes, strategic complements," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-65, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Adriani, Fabrizio & Deidda, Luca G., 2011. "Competition and the signaling role of prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 412-425, July.
    2. Dubovik, Andrei & Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2012. "Oligopolistic competition in price and quality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 120-138.
    3. Emons, Winand & Fluet, Claude, 2012. "Non-comparative versus comparative advertising of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 352-360.
    4. Helmut Bester & Juri Demuth, 2015. "Signalling Rivalry and Quality Uncertainty in a Duopoly," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 135-154, June.
    5. Leonard J. Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2011. "The Simple Analytics of Price Signaling Quality," Cahiers de recherche 11-04, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    6. Catherine Gendron-Saulnier & Marc Santugini, 2013. "The Informational Benefit of Price Discrimination," Cahiers de recherche 13-02, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    7. P. Vanin, 2009. "Competition, Reputation and Cheating," Working Papers 683, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Daher, Wassim & Mirman, Leonard J. & Santugini, Marc, 2012. "Information in Cournot: Signaling with incomplete control," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 361-370.
    9. Ludwig von Auer & Mark Trede, 2014. "Markets with Technological Progress: Pricing Quality, and Novelty," CQE Working Papers 3014, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    10. Vitor Miguel Ribeiro & João Correia-da-Silva & Joana Resende, 2014. "Nesting Vertical and Horizontal Differentiation in Two-Sided Markets," FEP Working Papers 535, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    11. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Imperfect competition and quality signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 163-183.
    12. Alexander E. Saak, 2011. "A Model of Labeling with Horizontal Differentiation and Cost Variability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1131-1150.
    13. Zhu, Xiaowei & Mukhopadhyay, Samar K. & Yue, Xiaohang, 2011. "Role of forecast effort on supply chain profitability under various information sharing scenarios," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(2), pages 284-291, February.
    14. Lode Li & Hongtao Zhang, 2008. "Confidentiality and Information Sharing in Supply Chain Coordination," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(8), pages 1467-1481, August.
    15. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2008. "Non-comparative versus Comparative Advertising as a Quality Signal," Diskussionsschriften dp0805, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    16. P. Vanin, 2009. "Competition, Reputation and Compliance," Working Papers 682, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    17. Laurent Linnemer, 2011. "Caught In A Stranglehold? Advertising: What Else?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(1), pages 63-80, January.
    18. Fulan Wu, 2016. "Entry And Quality Signalling When Only Some Consumers Are Informed Of The Entrant'S Quality," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 297-310, April.
    19. Gabszewicz, Jean J. & Resende, Joana, 2012. "Differentiated credence goods and price competition," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 277-287.
    20. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Communicating quality: a unified model of disclosure and signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 973-989.
    21. Janssen, Maarten, 2017. "Regulating False Discloure," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168159, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    22. Mirman, Leonard J. & Salgueiro, Egas M. & Santugini, Marc, 2014. "Noisy signaling in monopoly," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 504-511.
    23. Laurent Linnemer, 2008. "Dissipative Advertising Signals Quality Even Without Repeat Purchases," Working Papers 2008-18, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    24. Gertz, Christopher, 2016. "A Model of Quality Uncertainty with a Continuum of Quality Levels," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 522, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    25. Ayca Kaya, 2013. "Dynamics of price and advertising as quality signals: anything goes," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1556-1564.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Signaling; quality; safety; confidentiality; duopoly;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0417. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.