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Non-comparative versus Comparative Advertising as a Quality Signal


  • Emons, Winand
  • Fluet, Claude


Two firms produce a product with a horizontal and a vertical characteristic that we call quality. The difference in the quality levels determines how the firms share the market. Consumers do not observe quality before purchase. Under non-comparative advertising a firm signals its own quality, under comparative advertising a firm signals the quality differential. In both scenarios firms may boast at a cost. In equilibrium firms actually do so, but consumers rationally infer the true quality if firms advertise. Under comparative advertising the firms never advertise together which they may do under non-comparative advertising.

Suggested Citation

  • Emons, Winand & Fluet, Claude, 2011. "Non-comparative versus Comparative Advertising as a Quality Signal," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48713, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48713

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Schultz, Christian, 1999. "Limit pricing when incumbents have conflicting interests," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 801-825, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. F. Barigozzi & M. Peitz, 2004. "Comparative Advertising and Competition Policy," Working Papers 524, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Claude Fluet, 2009. "Accuracy Versus Falsification Costs: The Optimal Amount of Evidence under Different Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 134-156, May.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12478 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Anderson, Simon & Ciliberto, Federico & Liaukonyte, Jura, 2010. "Getting into Your Head(Ache): The Information Content of Advertising in the Over-the-Counter Analgesics Industry," MPRA Paper 24916, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Simon P. Anderson & Régis Renault, 2009. "Comparative advertising: disclosing horizontal match information," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 558-581.
    12. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-1365, November.
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    1. repec:bla:randje:v:47:y:2016:i:4:p:1029-1056 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon P. Anderson & Federico Ciliberto & Jura Liaukonyte & Régis Renault, 2016. "Push-me pull-you: comparative advertising in the OTC analgesics industry," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(4), pages 1029-1056, November.
    3. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2009. "Adversarial versus Inquisitorial Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0904, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    4. Maria Alipranti & Evangelos Mitrokostas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2013. "Comparative versus Informative Advertising in Oligopolistic Markets," Working Papers 1301, University of Crete, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    advertising; costly state falsification; signalling;

    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
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising


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