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The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition

Author

Listed:
  • Dulleck, Uwe

    (Queensland University of Technology)

  • Rudolf, Kerschbamer

    (University of Innsbruck and CEPR)

  • Matthias, Sutter

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Credence goods markets are characterized by asymmetric information between sellers and consumers that may give rise to inefficiencies, such as under- and overtreatment or market break-down. We study in a large experiment with 936 participants the determinants for efficiency in credence goods markets. While theory predicts that either liability or verifiability yields efficiency, we find that liability has a crucial, but verifiability only a minor effect. Allowing sellers to build up reputation has little influence, as predicted. Seller competition drives down prices and yields maximal trade, but does not lead to higher efficiency as long as liability is violated.

Suggested Citation

  • Dulleck, Uwe & Rudolf, Kerschbamer & Matthias, Sutter, 2009. "The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition," Working Papers in Economics 348, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0348
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brosig, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 254, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. 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.
    3. Uwe Dulleck & Berthold U. Wigger, 2012. "Expert Politicians, Electoral Control, and Fiscal Restraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 3738, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2014. "Car mechanics in the lab––Investigating the behavior of real experts on experimental markets for credence goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 166-173.
    5. Vincze, János, 2010. "Miért és mitől védjük a fogyasztókat?. Aszimmetrikus információ és/vagy korlátozott racionalitás
      [Asymmetric information and/or bounded rationality: why are consumers protected and from what?]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 725-752.
    6. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    7. Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Jianying Qiu & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services - Theory and Experiment," Working Papers 2010-06, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    8. Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias & Dulleck, Uwe, 2009. "The Impact of Distributional Preferences on (Experimental) Markets for Expert Services," IZA Discussion Papers 4647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Huck, Steffen & Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Consumer behavioural biases in competition: A survey," MPRA Paper 31794, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credence goods; Experiment; Liability; Verifiability; Reputation; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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