Exemplary Goods: The Product as Economic Variable

Erwin Dekker, P Kuchar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper offers an alternative to essentialist theories that conceptualize goods as bundles of objective characteristics. Extending the idea that economic competition is a discovery process beyond the discovery of costs and prices to the discovery of qualities, we argue that relevant qualities of goods emerge along with costs and prices from the process of economic competition. Such a discovery process revolves around exemplary goods—a novel theoretical concept we develop. Exemplary goods, as we argue, have a coordinative role within markets that is complementary to the coordinative role of prices. We illustrate our theory with a reinterpretation of a case study on the entry of Starbucks and conclude by challenging some of the normative implications derived from theories of salience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-256
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Contextual Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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