Who Should Pay for Certification?
Konrad O. Stahl
University of Mannheim - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
June 16, 2010
ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 11-054
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: asymmetric information, certification, information acquisition, inspection, lemons, middlemen, signaling
JEL Classification: D40, D82, L14, L15working papers series
Date posted: August 12, 2011
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