Minimum Quality Standards and Equilibrium Selection with Asymmetric Firms
In a vertically differentiated market with cost asymmetries, the risk dominance criterion selects the equilibrium where the high quality is produced by the efficient firm. We show that a sufficiently high Minimum Quality Standard reverses equilibrium selection. Hence, MQS may be used in order to increase a domestic firm's profit at the expense of a more efficient foreign rival. This produces higher domestic and lower world welfare. Since the protectionist impact of MQS comes through equilibrium targeting rather than directly affecting equilibrium outcomes, it cannot be easily detected.
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