Certifying Firms

45 Pages Posted: 2 May 2019 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

Date Written: April 1, 2019


I study the design of dynamic certification schemes for firms that are privately informed about their competence and their efforts towards quality provision. I identify the certifier's tension between disclosing firms' track records to consumers and providing effort incentives to firms, and show that a low-standard honors scheme resolves the tension and maximizes the certifier's revenue: at each time, competent firms are either "certified" or "certified with honors"; inept firms are always "certified." Such scheme maximizes competent firms' effort incentives and also maximizes social surplus. I relate my findings to concerns about certification in practice.

Keywords: certification, adverse selection, dynamic moral hazard

JEL Classification: C72, C73, D82, D83, M52, G24

Suggested Citation

Vong, Allen, Certifying Firms (April 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3363690 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3363690

Allen Vong (Contact Author)

University of Macau ( email )

P.O. Box 3001

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