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The paper explores three related strategic dimensions of the certification market: the publicity given to applications, the coarseness of rating patterns and the sellers' dynamic certification strategies. The authors find conditions under which sellers opt for an ambitious certification strategy, in which they apply to a demanding, but non-transparent certifier and lower their ambitions when rejected. They derive the comparative statics with respect to the sellers' initial reputation, the probability of fortuitous disclosure, the sellers' self-knowledge and impatience, and the concentration of the certification industry.
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