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Communicating Quality: A Unified Model of Disclosure and Signaling

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

Firms communicate product quality attributes to consumers through a variety of channels, such as pricing, advertising, releases of research reports and test results, or warranties and returns policies. The conceptualization of the economics of such communication is that it takes on one of two alternative forms when quality is exogenous: 1) disclosure of quality through a credible direct claim; 2) signaling of quality via producer actions that influence buyersÕ beliefs about quality. In general, these two literatures have ignored one-another. In this paper we argue that disclosure and signaling are two sides of a coin and that firms should be viewed as choosing which means of communication they will employ. Moreover, we show that integration of these two alternatives leads to a number of new implications about disclosure, signaling, firm preferences over type, and the social efficiency of the channel of communication employed.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2007. "Communicating Quality: A Unified Model of Disclosure and Signaling," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0703, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0703
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    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, pages 1187-1206.
    2. 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, pages 907-930.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-483, December.
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    6. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2008. "Products Liability, Signaling and Disclosure," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 106-126, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disclosure; signaling; quality; efficiency;

    JEL classification:

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

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