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Shipping the good apples under strategic competition

Creane, Anthony (2019): Shipping the good apples under strategic competition.

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Production runs suffer from inadvertent quality variation. There are good apples; there are bad apples (also known as “seconds”). The Alchian-Allen theorem states that a common perunit charge on two goods differentiated only by quality, increases the relative export demand for the higher quality good leading to local consumers lamenting that they cannot find them locally. While usually stated for competitive markets, firms with market power also suffer from inadvertent seconds in their production. For example, brand-name retailers send their seconds to outlets, even though this undercuts the demand for their firsts. A model is presented of oligopolistic firms choosing production and what fraction of their first and seconds to export: a model of “shipping the good apples” with strategic competition. In this model an increase in the per-unit charge can increase the absolute fraction of high quality exported. Despite this, shipping the good apples may not hold, that is, an increase in the per-unit charge can decrease the quantity demanded of good apples relative to bad ones. Rather, shipping the good apples holds when the export market’s willingness-to-pay for high quality is greater (or greater value for “quality upgrading” (Johnson and Myatt, 2006)). Despite the consumers’ lament, domestic consumer welfare increases with exporting

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