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The Impact of Distributional Preferences on (Experimental) Markets for Expert Services

  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf

    ()

    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Sutter, Matthias

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

  • Dulleck, Uwe

    ()

    (Queensland University of Technology)

Credence goods markets suffer from inefficiencies arising from informational asymmetries between expert sellers and customers. While standard theory predicts that inefficiencies disappear if customers can verify the quality received, verifiability fails to yield efficiency in experiments with endogenous prices. We identify heterogeneous distributional preferences as the main cause and design a parsimonious experiment with exogenous prices that allows classifying experts as either selfish, efficiency loving, inequality averse, inequality loving or competitive. Results show that most subjects exhibit non-standard distributional preferences, among which efficiency-loving and inequality aversion are most frequent. We discuss implications for institutional design and agent selection in credence goods markets.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4647.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming with new title "How social preferences shape incentives in (experimental) markets for credence goods" in: Economic Journal (accepted February 2015)
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4647
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  1. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 1998. "Second Opinions and Price Competition Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Discussion Papers 1229, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Gruber, Jon & Kim, John & Mayzlin, Dina, 1999. "Physician fees and procedure intensity: the case of cesarean delivery," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 473-490, August.
  3. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Jonathan Gruber & Maria Owings, 1994. "Physician Financial Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery," NBER Working Papers 4933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  6. Winand Emons, 1994. "Credence Goods and Fraudulent Experts," Diskussionsschriften dp9402, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  7. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition," Working Papers 2009-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  9. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2003. "Price Discrimination in Markets for Experts' Services," CEPR Discussion Papers 4155, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  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. Steffen Huck & Gabriele K. Ruchala & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2006. "Competition Fosters Trust," Discussion Papers 06-22, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  13. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Emons, Winand, 2001. "Credence goods monopolists," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 375-389, March.
  15. 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.
  16. Ingela Alger & François Salanié, 2006. "A Theory of Fraud and Overtreatment in Experts Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 853-881, December.
  17. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  19. Huck, Steffen & Ruchala, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2007. "Pricing and Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 6135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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