CiteWeb id: 19830000108

CiteWeb score: 2807

DOI: 10.2307/1881782

This paper derives an equilibrium price-quality schedule for markets in which buyers cannot observe product quality prior to purchase. In such markets there is an incentive for sellers to reduce quality and take short-run gains before buyers catch on. In order to forestall such quality cutting, the price-quality schedule involves high quality items selling at a premium above their cost. This premium also serves the function of compensating sellers for their investment in reputation. The effects of improved consumer information and of a minimum quality standard on the equilibrium price-quality schedule are studied. In general, optimal quality standards exclude from the market items some consumers would like to buy.