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Car mechanics in the lab: investigating the behavior of real experts on experimental markets for credence goods

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  • Adrian Beck
  • Rudolf Kerschbamer
  • Jianying Qiu
  • Matthias Sutter

Abstract

Credence goods, such as car repairs or medical services, are characterized by severe informational asymmetries between sellers and consumers, leading to fraud in the form of provision of insufficient service (undertreatment), provision of unnecessary service (overtreatment) and charging too much for a given service (overcharging). Recent experimental research involving a standard (student) subject pool has examined the influence of informational and market conditions on the type and level of fraud. We investigate whether professional car mechanics – as real sellers of credence goods – react in the same way to changes in informational and institutional constraints. While we find qualitatively similar effects in the fraud dimensions of undertreatment and overcharging for both subject pools, car mechanics are significantly more prone to supplying unnecessary services in all conditions, which could be a result of decision heuristics they learned in their professional training.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2014/02.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2014/02

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Keywords: Artefactual field experiment; car mechanics; credence goods;

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  1. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Seki, Erika, 2005. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence from Fishermen in Toyama Bay," IZA Discussion Papers 1697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "What Drives Taxi Drivers? A Field Experiment on Fraud in a Market for Credence Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3461, CESifo Group Munich.
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  8. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2013. "On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics: With A Response To Camerer," NBER Working Papers 19666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. repec:feb:framed:00135 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Dominik Erharter, 2012. "Credence goods markets, distributional preferences and the role of institutions," Working Papers 2012-11, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

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