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Joint Private Safety Standards and Vertical Relationships in Food Retailing



In recent years, it has become common for downstream firms to impose Joint Private Standards (JPSs) on upstream producers. In this paper, we present an original model of a vertical relationship, explaining the incentives for and the effects of such JPSs with an example concerning food safety. The risk of a food crisis is endogenously determined. Using the concept of cartel stability (d’Aspremont et al., 1983), it is shown that liability rules are crucial for JPSs to emerge, that a JPS can become a minimum quality standard, and that a more stringent JPS does not necessarily reduce the market risk.