Markets for professional services: queues and mediocrity
We analyze a dynamic, decentralized market with endogenous entry, where in each period the active professionals supply one unit of an indivisible service at varying degrees of quality. The customers that have entered the market are randomly matched with the active professionals and prices are set by (complete information) pair-wise bargaining. In its unique steady state, the market leads to an excess diversity of quality and customers may have to suffer costly delays. Notably, efficiency is not regained as per period delay costs disappear. We also show that a professional college setting licensing rules will improve welfare (and even Consumer Surplus), relative to the free market, whenever the inefficiency is caused by a large enough excess supply.
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