Three essays on optimal acquisition and use of product value information

Schumacher, Gerrit

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-456841
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2018
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Fleischmann, Moritz
Date of oral examination: 24 July 2018
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL u. Logistik (Fleischmann 2009-)
License: CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 330 Economics
650 Management
Subject headings (SWD): Produktentwicklung , Supply Chain Management
Keywords (English): new product development , used-product acquisition management , incentive mechanism , asymmetric information
Abstract: This dissertation is concerned with the management of testing processes to reduce uncertainty about products' values and the subsequent use of the gathered information. It consists of three independent essays and is motivated by two business examples, which, while differing at first sight, exhibit several similarities with regard to the acquisition of product value information through testing, namely, new product development (NPD) and used-product acquisition management. Additionally, the investigated settings involve strategic actors and related information asymmetries. These are the issues that we analyze. The first essay investigates a situation in new product development in which a firm delegates the testing of different design alternatives to experts to subsequently select the most promising design. The central undertaking in this work comprises finding the optimal incentive schemes for delegation of testing and, based on that, characterizing the optimal testing mode and how it is driven by delegation. The key results are that delegation favors sequential testing and that the heterogeneity of testing outcomes' qualities has an impact on the optimal number of experts under sequential testing: if qualities are homogeneous, a single expert should run all tests; otherwise, each design should be tested by a different expert. The second essay investigates a setting related to used-product acquisition at firms in the recommerce business. Here, quality-dependent acquisition prices are offered on a firm's website in combination with a certain acquisition process with counteroffers in which product holders provide upfront product-quality statements. We analyze how to optimally set up this acquisition process and compare it to an alternative process with regard to profitability. The key results are that product holders have an incentive to lie about products' qualities, whereas in the alternative process, holders can be incentivized to be truthful; however, neither of the processes outperforms the other under any circumstances. The third essay investigates another setting present in the business field of recommerce. Here, a firm acquires used products through a retailer that tests products and offers quality-dependent acquisition prices. We answer how to optimally manage this acquisition channel. The key results include the characterization of the optimal contracts and acquisition prices, determination of conditions for upfront testing and quality-dependent offers being beneficial, and the observation that the investigated acquisition channel is effcient.

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