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Experts vs Discounters: Competition and Market Unravelling When Consumers Do Not Know What they Need

  • Dulleck, Uwe
  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf

This paper studies price competition between experts and discounters in a market for credence goods. While experts can identify a consumer's problem by exerting costly but unobservable diagnosis effort, discounters just sell treatments without giving any advice. The unobservability of diagnosis effort induces experts to use their tariffs as signaling devices. This makes them vulnerable to competition by discounters. We explore the conditions under which experts survive competition by discounters and find that there exist situations in which adding a single customer to a large population of existing consumers leads to a switch from an experts only to a discounters only market.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5242.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5242
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  1. 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.
  2. Emons, Winand, 1997. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9c5508x4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "Vertical Restraints as Contract Enforcement Mechanisms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 265-97, October.
  5. Winand Emons, 2000. "Product Differentiation and Price Competition Between a Safe and a Risky Seller," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 156(3), pages 431-, September.
  6. W. Pesendorfer & A. Wolinsky, 2000. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s18, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  7. Bouckaert, J.M.C. & Degryse, H.A., 1998. "Price competition between an expert and a non-expert," Discussion Paper 1998-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Perry, Martin K & Besanko, David, 1991. "Resale Price Maintenance and Manufacturer Competition for Exclusive Dealerships," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 517-44, September.
  9. Howard P. Marvel & Stephen McCafferty, 1984. "Resale Price Maintenance and Quality Certification," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 346-359, Autumn.
  10. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  11. 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.
  12. Bolton, Patrick & Bonanno, Giacomo, 1988. "Vertical Restraints in a Model of Vertical Differentiation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 555-70, August.
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