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Communicating Quality: A Unified Model of Disclosure and Signaling

  • Andrew F. Daughety

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University)

  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University)

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.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu07-w03.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0703.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0703
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Kyle Bagwell, 1991. "Pricing to Signal Product Line Quality," Discussion Papers 921, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Andrew Daughety & Jennifer Reinganum, . "Secrecy and Safety," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1039, American Law & Economics Association.
  3. Oliver Board, 2009. "COMPETITION AND DISCLOSURE -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 197-213, 03.
  4. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  6. 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.
  7. Fabio Caldieraro & Dongsoo Shin & Andrew Stivers, 2011. "Voluntary Quality Disclosure under Price‐Signaling Competition," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32, pages 493-504, December.
  8. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2006. "Products Liability, Signaling and Disclosure," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0625, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Cai, Hongbin & Riley, John & Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Reserve price signaling," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 253-268, July.
  11. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Spence, A Michael, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 561-72, October.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Shiou Shieh, 1993. "Incentives for Cost-Reducing Investment in a Signalling Model of Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 466-477, Autumn.
  16. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
  17. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  18. Esther Gal-Or, 1989. "Warranties as a Signal of Quality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(1), pages 50-61, February.
  19. 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.
  20. Michael J. Fishman & Kathleen M. Hagerty, 2003. "Mandatory Versus Voluntary Disclosure in Markets with Informed and Uninformed Customers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 45-63, April.
  21. 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.
  22. 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 615-41, August.
  23. W. Kip Viscusi, 1978. "A Note on "Lemons" Markets with Quality Certification," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 277-279, Spring.
  24. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2006. "Mandatory versus Voluntary Disclosure of Product Risks," Discussion Papers 06-006, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  25. Insuk Cheong & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2004. "Costly Information Disclosure in Oligopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 121-132, 03.
  26. Dan Levin & James Peck & Lixin Ye, 2009. "QUALITY DISCLOSURE AND COMPETITION -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 167-196, 03.
  27. Steven Matthews & Andrew Postlewaite, 1985. "Quality Testing and Disclosure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(3), pages 328-340, Autumn.
  28. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-50, June.
  29. Boyan Jovanovic, 1982. "Truthful Disclosure of Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 36-44, Spring.
  30. 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 461-83, December.
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