Imperfect Competition and Quality Signaling
We examine the interplay of imperfect competition and incomplete information in the context of price competition among firms producing horizontally- and vertically-differentiated substitute products. We find that incomplete information about vertical quality (e.g., consumer satisfaction) that is signaled via price softens price competition, and that imperfect competition can reduce the degree to which firms distort their prices to signal their types (relative to what a monopolist would do). We show that low-quality firms always prefer playing the incomplete information game to the full-information analog: their prices are higher and so are their profits. Moreover, for "high-value" markets, if the proportion of high-quality firms is great enough, high-quality firms also prefer incomplete information to full information. We find conditions such that an increase in the loss to consumers associated with consuming the low-quality product may perversely benefit low-quality firms. We discuss the implications of our analysis for recent tort reform proposals, incentives for the diffusion of general innovation to product-specific improvements, and professional licensing.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Daughety, Andrew & Reinganum, Jennifer, 1992.
"Product Safety: Liability, R & D and Signaling,"
94-17, University of Iowa, Department of Economics, revised 1994.
- 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.
- Claude Fluet & Paolo G. Garella, 1999. "Advertising and Prices as Signals of Quality in a Regime of Price Rivalry," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9903, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
- Matthews, Steven A & Mirman, Leonard J, 1983.
"Equilibrium Limit Pricing: The Effects of Private Information and Stochastic Demand,"
Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 981-96, July.
- Steven A. Matthews & Leonard J. Mirman, 1981. "Equilibrium Limit Pricing: The Effects of Private Information and Stochastic Demand," Discussion Papers 494, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997.
"Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
896, David K. Levine.
- Martin, Stephen, 1995. "Oligopoly limit pricing: Strategic substitutes, strategic complements," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-65, March.
- Esther Gal-Or, 1988. "The Advantages of Imprecise Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(2), pages 266-275, Summer.
- Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bagwell, Kyle, 1992.
"Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality,"
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 151-174, Spring.
- 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.
- Daughety, Andrew F. & Reinganum, Jennifer F., 2007. "Competition and confidentiality: Signaling quality in a duopoly when there is universal private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 94-120, January.
- 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.
- Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1989.
"Oligopoly Limit Pricing,"
829, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
- George J. Mailath, 1989. "Simultaneous Signaling in an Oligopoly Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 417-427.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0520. 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)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.