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Consumer information in a market for expert services

  • Hyndman, Kyle
  • Ozerturk, Saltuk

We present a model of credence goods in which the consumers are heterogenous in terms of the valuation they place for getting a serious problem fixed. We introduce consumer information into this framework by assuming that, prior to visiting an expert, some consumers receive an information signal about whether they have a serious or a minor problem. We show that when the fraction of consumers with low willingness to pay is sufficiently high, the expert does not cheat any low valuation consumer regardless of their information status, but cheats the high valuation consumers: those high-valuation consumers with bad signals are the most frequent victims of cheating, whereas those with good signals are the least likely victims. When the fraction of consumers with low willingness to pay is below a certain threshold, however, the unique equilibrium involves no cheating.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 80 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 628-640

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:3:p:628-640
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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. Winand Emons, 1997. "Credence Goods and Fraudelent Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 107-119, Spring.
  3. 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.
  4. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2003. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 417-437.
  5. Pitchik, Carolyn & Schotter, Andrew, 1987. "Honesty in a Model of Strategic Information Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1032-36, December.
  6. Emons, Winand, 1997. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9c5508x4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  7. Yuk-fai Fong, 2005. "When Do Experts Cheat and Whom Do They Target?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 113-130, Spring.
  8. Kris De Jaegher & Marc Jegers, 2001. "The physician-patient relationship as a game of strategic information transmission," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(7), pages 651-668.
  9. Ingela Alger & Francois Salanie, 2001. "A Theory of Fraud and Over-Consumption in Experts Markets," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 495, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  10. 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.
  11. Dranove, David, 1988. "Demand Inducement and the Physician/Patient Relationship," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(2), pages 281-98, April.
  12. 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.
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