Low Quality as a Signal of High Quality

25 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2003

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 15, 2006


If a product has two dimensions of quality, one observable and one not, a firm can use observable quality as a signal of unobservable quality. The correlation between consumers' valuation of high quality in each dimension is a key determinant of the feasibility of such signaling. A firm may use price alone as a signal, or price and quality together. Both signals tend to be used when the market is very uninformed, whereas price signaling alone tends to be used when the market is moderately informed. If high observable quality is inexpensive to provide, then it cannot signal high unobservable quality, and low observable quality is always an indication that unobservable quality is high.

Keywords: Quality, signaling

JEL Classification: L0

Suggested Citation

Clements, Matthew T., Low Quality as a Signal of High Quality (June 15, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=368020 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.368020

Matthew T. Clements (Contact Author)

St. Edward's University ( email )

3001 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704
United States
(512) 428-1321 (Phone)

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