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Experts vs Discounters: Competition and Market Unravelling When Consumers Do Not Know What they Need

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  • Dulleck, Uwe
  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf

Abstract

This paper studies price competition between experts and discounters in a market for credence goods. While experts can identify a consumer's problem by exerting costly but unobservable diagnosis effort, discounters just sell treatments without giving any advice. The unobservability of diagnosis effort induces experts to use their tariffs as signaling devices. This makes them vulnerable to competition by discounters. We explore the conditions under which experts survive competition by discounters and find that there exist situations in which adding a single customer to a large population of existing consumers leads to a switch from an experts only to a discounters only market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5242.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5242

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Keywords: credence goods; discounters; experts; vertical restraints;

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References

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  1. Asher Wolinsky, 1991. "Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services," Discussion Papers 959, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. W. Pesendorfer & A. Wolinsky, 2000. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s18, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  3. Bouckaert, Jan & Degryse, Hans, 2000. "Price competition between an expert and a non-expert," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 901-923, August.
  4. Kai Sülzle & Achim Wambach, 2005. "Insurance in a Market for Credence Goods," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 72(1), pages 159-176.
  5. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  6. Winand Emons, 1998. "Product Differentiation and Price Competition between a Safe and a Risky Seller," Diskussionsschriften dp9808, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  7. Bolton, Patrick & Bonanno, Giacomo, 1988. "Vertical Restraints in a Model of Vertical Differentiation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 555-70, August.
  8. Winand Emons, 1995. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Diskussionsschriften dp9501, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  9. Perry, Martin K & Besanko, David, 1991. "Resale Price Maintenance and Manufacturer Competition for Exclusive Dealerships," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 517-44, September.
  10. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "The Economics of Breakdowns, Checkups, and Cures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 53-74, February.
  11. Howard P. Marvel & Stephen McCafferty, 1984. "Resale Price Maintenance and Quality Certification," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 346-359, Autumn.
  12. Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "Vertical Restraints as Contract Enforcement Mechanisms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 265-97, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer, 2007. "Experts vs. Discounters: Consumer Free Riding and Experts Withholding Advice in Markets for Credence Goods," Working Papers 2007-21, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  2. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter & Uwe Dulleck, 2009. "The Impact of Distributional Preferences on (Experimental) Markets for Expert Services," Working Papers 2009-28, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

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