The Interplay between Information Acquisition and Quality Disclosure¡¡

Author:  GUAN XU£¨Department of Management Science and Engineering£©£¬CHEN Yingru
Publication:  Production and Operations Management£¬2017£¨26£©3:389-408.
Abstract:  This study investigates the interactions between a manufacturer¡¯s information acquisition and quality disclosure strategies in a supply chain setting in which the manufacturer privately knows his product quality but is uncertain about consumer preferences. We argue that the manufacturer should treat his information acquisition and quality disclosure decisions as an integrated process because these decisions can significantly influence a retailer¡¯s rational inferences about product quality and can have conflicting effects on his own profitability. Although information acquisition helps a manufacturer subsequently craft better pricing and quality disclosure strategies, it also leaks certain product information to the retailer, thus helping the retailer better estimate product quality. Therefore, in equilibrium, a manufacturer may choose not to acquire any consumer information, even when such acquisition is costless. Moreover, we find that this adverse effect of acquisition is highly dependent on the cost of disclosure and consumers¡¯ preference differentiation. Increased consumer preference differentiation may have a non-monotonic relationship with the manufacturer¡¯s profit, and information acquisition can become detrimental to the manufacturer once the disclosure cost is sufficiently high.

¡¾Key words¡¿ information acquisition; quality disclosure; two-sided information asymmetry; game theory