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Second opinions in markets for expert services: Experimental evidence

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  • Mimra, Wanda
  • Rasch, Alexander
  • Waibel, Christian

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the role of second opinions in markets where experts such as physicians both diagnose and provide the services. Physicians may exploit their informational advantage and overtreat their patients by providing a more costly and expensive treatment than necessary. We show that introducing costly second opinions significantly reduces the level of overtreatment. Lowering search costs leads to significantly more second opinions, but the overtreatment level does not decrease. Under low but not under high search costs, market efficiency rises with the introduction of second opinions, as the reduction in treatment costs due to less overtreatment exceeds the increase in incurred search costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Mimra, Wanda & Rasch, Alexander & Waibel, Christian, 2016. "Second opinions in markets for expert services: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 106-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:131:y:2016:i:pb:p:106-125 DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.03.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele & Spitzer, Florian & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Medical insurance and free choice of physician shape patient overtreatment: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 78-105.
    2. Mimra, Wanda & Rasch, Alexander & Waibel, Christian, 2016. "Price competition and reputation in credence goods markets: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 337-352.
    3. Schneider, Tim & Bizer, Kilian, 2017. "Expert qualification in markets for expert services: A Sisyphean Task?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 323, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Schneider, Tim & Bizer, Kilian, 2017. "Building trust by qualification in a market for expert services," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 309, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Schneider, Tim & Meub, Lukas & Bizer, Kilian, 2016. "Consumer information in a market for expert services: Experimental evidence," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 285, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Overtreatment; Second opinion; Physician experts; Credence goods; Search costs;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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