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Who should pay for certification?


  • Stahl, Konrad
  • Strausz, Roland


Who does, and who should initiate costly certification by a third party under asymmetric quality information, the buyer or the seller? Our answer - the seller - follows from a nontrivial analysis revealing a clear intuition. Buyer-induced certification acts as an inspection device, seller-induced certification as a signalling device. Seller-induced certification maximizes the certifier's profit and social welfare. This suggests the general principle that certification is, and should be induced by the better informed party. The results are reflected in a case study from the automotive industry, but apply also to other markets - in particular the financial market.

Suggested Citation

  • Stahl, Konrad & Strausz, Roland, 2011. "Who should pay for certification?," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-054, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11054

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-283, February.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Lovo, Stefano, 2013. "Credit rating industry: A helicopter tour of stylized facts and recent theories," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 643-651.
    2. Hirth, Stefan, 2014. "Credit rating dynamics and competition," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 100-112.
    3. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "The Value of Delegated Quality Control and Market Size with an Application to Kyrgyzstan Dairy," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235707, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Mihaela Schaar & Simpson Zhang, 2015. "A dynamic model of certification and reputation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(3), pages 509-541, April.
    5. Thomas Url, 2012. "Rating Agencies: Creating, Amplifying or Drawn by Events in the Sovereign Debt Crisis?," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 17(2), pages 108-121, May.
    6. Prüfer, J.O., 2014. "Trusting Privacy in the Cloud," Discussion Paper 2014-047, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    7. Thomas Url, 2011. "Rating Agencies: Originator, Accelerant or Simply Dragged Into the Sovereign Debt Crisis?," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 84(12), pages 811-825, December.

    More about this item


    Asymmetric information; certification; information acquisition; inspection; lemons; middlemen; signaling;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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