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Experts vs. Discounters: Consumer Free Riding and Experts Withholding Advice in Markets for Credence Goods

  • Uwe Dulleck

    ()

  • Rudolf Kerschbamer

    ()

This paper studies the incentives for credence goods experts to invest effort in diagnosis if effort is both costly and unobservable, and if they face competition by discounters who are not able to perform a diagnosis. The unobservability of diagnosis effort and the credence characteristic of the good induces experts to choose incentive compatible tariff structures. This makes them vulnerable to competition by discounters. We explore the conditions under which honestly diagnosing experts survive competition by discounters; we identify situations in which experts misdiagnose consumers in order to prevent them from free riding on experts' advice; and we discuss policy options to solve the free-rider problem.

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File URL: http://eeecon.uibk.ac.at/wopec2/repec/inn/wpaper/2007-21.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck in its series Working Papers with number 2007-21.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2007-21
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Uwe Dulleck, 2000. "Where Are The Problems with Credence Goods?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1441, Econometric Society.
  4. 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.
  5. Kala Krishna & Tor Winston, 2000. "If at First You Don't Succeed...: Profits, Prices and Market Structure in a Model of Quality with Unknowable Consumer Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 7494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2005. "Experts vs Discounters: Competition and Market Unravelling When Consumers Do Not Know What they Need," CEPR Discussion Papers 5242, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Liu, Ting, 2006. "Credence Goods Markets with Conscientious and Selfish Experts," MPRA Paper 1106, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  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. Ingela Alger & Francois Salanie, 2001. "A Theory of Fraud and Over-Consumption in Experts Markets," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 495, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  11. Kai Sülzle & Achim Wambach, 2002. "Insurance in a Market for Credence Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 677, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Bouckaert, Jan & Degryse, Hans, 1998. "Price Competition Between an Expert and a Non-Expert," CEPR Discussion Papers 1905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  16. 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.
  17. Winand Emons, 1995. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Diskussionsschriften dp9501, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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