Can Competition Reduce Quality?

22 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2014

See all articles by Kurt Richard Brekke

Kurt Richard Brekke

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Luigi Siciliani

University of York

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2014

Abstract

In a spatial competition setting there is usually a non-negative relationship between competition and quality. In this paper we offer a novel mechanism whereby competition leads to lower quality. This mechanism relies on two key assumptions, namely that the providers are motivated and risk-averse. We show that the negative relationship between competition and quality is robust to any given number of fims in the market and whether quality and price decisions are simultaneous or sequential. We also show that competition may improve social welfare despite the adverse effect on quality. Our proposed mechanism can help explain empirical findings of a negative effect of competition on quality in markets such as health care, long-term care, and higher education.

Keywords: Motivated providers, Quality and price competition, Risk-averse providers

JEL Classification: D21, D43, L13, L30

Suggested Citation

Brekke, Kurt Richard and Siciliani, Luigi and Straume, Odd Rune, Can Competition Reduce Quality? (February 2014). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9810, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2444810

Kurt Richard Brekke (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Luigi Siciliani

University of York ( email )

Heslington
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE) ( email )

Campus de Gualtar
Braga, 4710-057
Portugal

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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