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The Impact of Distributional Preferences on (Experimental) Markets for Expert Services

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Author Info

  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf

    ()
    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Sutter, Matthias

    ()
    (European University Institute)

  • Dulleck, Uwe

    ()
    (Queensland University of Technology)

Abstract

Credence goods markets suffer from inefficiencies arising from informational asymmetries between expert sellers and customers. While standard theory predicts that inefficiencies disappear if customers can verify the quality received, verifiability fails to yield efficiency in experiments with endogenous prices. We identify heterogeneous distributional preferences as the main cause and design a parsimonious experiment with exogenous prices that allows classifying experts as either selfish, efficiency loving, inequality averse, inequality loving or competitive. Results show that most subjects exhibit non-standard distributional preferences, among which efficiency-loving and inequality aversion are most frequent. We discuss implications for institutional design and agent selection in credence goods markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4647.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4647

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Keywords: distributional preferences; credence goods; verifiability; experiment;

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References

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  1. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2009. "The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 4030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Ruchala, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2007. "Pricing and Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 6135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Winand Emons, 1997. "Credence Goods and Fraudelent Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 107-119, Spring.
  8. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Winand Emons, 1995. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Diskussionsschriften dp9501, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  10. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2003. "Price Discrimination in Markets for Experts' Services," CEPR Discussion Papers 4155, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Ingela Alger & François Salanié, 2006. "A Theory of Fraud and Overtreatment in Experts Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 853-881, December.
  12. Huck, Steffen & Ruchala, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2006. "Competition Fosters Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 6009, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  14. Gruber, Jon & Kim, John & Mayzlin, Dina, 1999. "Physician fees and procedure intensity: the case of cesarean delivery," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 473-490, August.
  15. Jonathan Gruber & Maria Owings, 1996. "Physician Financial Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 99-123, Spring.
  16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  17. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2000. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Discussion Papers 1306, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2005. "Experts vs Discounters: Competition and Market Unravelling When Consumers Do Not Know What they Need," CEPR Discussion Papers 5242, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Balafoutas, Loukas & Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2011. "What Drives Taxi Drivers? A Field Experiment on Fraud in a Market for Credence Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 5700, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Uwe Dulleck & David Johnston & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "The good, the bad and the naive: Do fair prices signal good types or do they induce good behaviour?," Working Papers 2012-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  3. 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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