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Quality Ambiguity and the Market Mechanism for Credence Goods

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  • Benner, Dietrich
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    Abstract

    With credence goods consumers cannot judge actual quality neither before purchase (ex ante) nor after purchase (ex post). Trust has to replace own examination and verification. Applying Choquet-Expected Utility theory, ageneral model of credence goods is developed wich takes the problem of trust explicitly in its view and generalizes the problem of quality uncertainty on the 'market for lemmons' of Akerlof (1970) to 'quality ambiguity' with credence goods. The model shows the market mechanism only performing well in providing credence goods when consumers' trust in given information is not too low. With trust too low, sellers of credence good will be driven out of the market by trust induced adverse selection. In market equilibrium prices will always be lower compared to equilibrium prices for experience goods.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universitaet Hohenheim, Institute of Agricultural Policy and Agricultural Markets in its series Working Papers with number 98639.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:uhgewp:98639

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    Keywords: credence goods; asymmetric information; quality ambiguity; quality uncertainty; adverse selection; ambiguity; choquet expected utility; Agricultural and Food Policy; Marketing; C72; D81; D82;

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    1. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
    2. Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E. M., 1990. "Conceptual model of the quality perception process," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 309-333, December.
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    11. Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. " Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-70, October.
    12. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
    13. Timothy J. Feddersen & Thomas W. Gilligan, 2001. "Saints and Markets: Activists and the Supply of Credence Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 149-171, 03.
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