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Quality competition with motivated providers and sluggish demand

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JournalJournal of Economic Dynamics and Control
DatePublished - Oct 2013
Issue number10
Volume37
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)2041–2061
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We study incentives for quality provision in markets where providers are motivated (semi-altruistic); prices are regulated and firms are funded by a combination of block grants and unit prices; competition is based on quality, and demand adjusts sluggishly. Health or education are sectors in which the mentioned features are the rule. We show that the presence of motivated providers makes dynamic competition tougher, resulting in higher steady-state levels of quality in the closed-loop solution than in the benchmark open-loop solution, if the price is sufficiently high. However, this result is reversed if the price is sufficiently low (and below unit costs). Sufficiently low prices also imply that a reduction in demand sluggishness will lead to lower steady-state quality. Prices below unit costs will nevertheless be welfare optimal if the providers are sufficiently motivated.

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