Who Determines the Optimal Trade-Off between Quality and Price?

Barbara Ann White

University of Baltimore - School of Law


Loyola Consumer Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2002

The question of the optimal trade-off between quality and price has become increasingly important as well as complex in recent times, as the advances of modern technology permit a far more refined range of choices. These subtleties among choices allow an individual, a group, or a society to titrate more precisely degrees of quality with almost any product or service, coupled, of course, with counterbalancing price consequences.

In 2002, as Program Chair of the Antitrust Section of the Association of American Law Schools, I organized a panel entitled “Guilds at the Millennium: Antitrust and the Professions” and served as one of its commentators.

The focus of this comment is not on the typical antitrust questions regarding regulating professionals in the face of asymmetric information or, in particular, how to cope with the potential anticompetitive effects of allowing the professions to regulate themselves. That issue is explicated quite cogently and extensively by the other commentator on this panel. Rather, the purpose here is to draw attention to another problem submerged within and yet intertwined with these discussions — the determination of the socially optimal trade-off between quality and price in the context of professional regulation. Co-extensively, this comment raises the question as to what antitrust's role should be in making such important price-quality trade-off decisions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 10

Keywords: asymmetric information, antitrust, quality, price, range of choices, technology, anticompetitive effects, antitrust, regulation, businesses, asymmetric information, professions,

JEL Classification: K29, K19, K39, L11, K21, L49

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Date posted: June 12, 2010  

Suggested Citation

White, Barbara Ann, Who Determines the Optimal Trade-Off between Quality and Price? (2002). Loyola Consumer Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2002. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1463628 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1463628

Contact Information

Barbara Ann White (Contact Author)
University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )
1420 N. Charles Street
U Baltimore Law
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States
HOME PAGE: http://law.ubalt.edu/faculty/profiles/white.cfm
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