"A" business by any other name: Firm name choice as a signal of firm quality

Published

Journal Article

This paper considers when a firm's deliberately chosen name can signal meaningful information. The average plumbing firm whose name begins with A or a number receives five times more service complaints than other firms and also charges higher prices. Relatedly, plumbers with A names advertise more in the Yellow Pages and on Google, and doing so is positively correlated with receiving complaints. As the use of A names is more prevalent in larger markets, I reconcile these findings with a simple model in which firms have different qualities and consumers have heterogeneous search costs. © 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McDevitt, RC

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 122 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 909 - 944

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-534X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3808

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/676333

Citation Source

  • Scopus