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What drives fraud in a credence goods market? Evidence from a field study

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Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of four key economic variables on an expert firm’s incentive to defraud its customers in a credence goods market: the level of competition, the expert firm’s financial situation, its competence, and its reputational concerns. We use and complement the dataset of a nationwide field study conducted by the German Automobile Association that regularly checks the reliability of garages in Germany. We find that more intense competition and high competence lower firms’ incentive to overcharge. A low concern for reputation and a critical financial situation increase the incentive to overcharge.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Rasch & Christian Waibel, 2013. "What drives fraud in a credence goods market? Evidence from a field study," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/179, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:13-179
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2013. "What Drives Taxi Drivers? A Field Experiment on Fraud in a Market for Credence Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 876-891.
    2. 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.
    3. Asher Wolinsky, 1993. "Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 380-398, Autumn.
    4. Henry S. Schneider, 2012. "Agency Problems and Reputation in Expert Services: Evidence from Auto Repair," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 406-433, September.
    5. Jan Boone, 2008. "A New Way to Measure Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1245-1261, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2009. "Reputational Incentives for Restaurant Hygiene," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 237-267, February.
    8. Pike, Chris, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of GP Competition," MPRA Paper 27613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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.
    10. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The Economics of Credence Goods: An Experiment on the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 526-555, April.
    11. In-Uck Park, 2005. "Cheap-Talk Referrals of Differentiated Experts in Repeated Relationships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Utgård, Jakob & Nygaard, Arne & Dahlstrom, Robert, 2015. "Franchising, local market characteristics and alcohol sales to minors," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2117-2124.
    2. Vera Angelova & Tobias Regner, 2016. "Can a Bonus Overcome Moral Hazard? An Experiment on Voluntary Payments, Competition, and Reputation in Markets for Expert Services," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-027, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    3. Bonnet, Céline & Schain, Jan Philip, 2017. "An empirical analysis of mergers: Efficiency gains and impact on consumer prices," DICE Discussion Papers 244, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric information; Auto repair market; Credence goods; Expert; Fraud; Overcharging.;

    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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