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Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services

  • Asher Wolinsky

This article investigates how information asymmetries affect the organization of markets in which sellers are also experts who determine customers' needs. It examines how customers' search for multiple opinions and reputation considerations each play a role in disciplining experts. It shows that customer search may give rise to an equilibrium in which experts specialize in different levels of the service. It discusses the effect of the search-cum-diagnosis costs on the market's organization: experts are more likely to be disciplined by customer search or by reputation according to whether these costs are lower or higher. It also shows that when experts are liable to make diagnosis errors, there is a negative search externality that tends to raise prices.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (1993)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 380-398

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:24:y:1993:i:autumn:p:380-398
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Wolinsky, Asher, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 647-58, October.
  4. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  5. Carolyn Pitchik & Andrew Schotter, 1993. "Information Transmission in Regulated Markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 815-29, November.
  6. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
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