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Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services: Theory and Experiment

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  • Beck, Adrian

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Qiu, Jianying

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Sutter, Matthias

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

We examine the influence of guilt and trust on the performance of credence goods markets. An expert can make a promise to a consumer first, whereupon the consumer can express her trust by paying an interaction price before the expert’s provision and charging decisions. We argue that the expert’s promise induces a commitment that triggers guilt if the promise is broken, and guilt is exacerbated by higher interaction prices. An experiment qualitatively confirms our predictions: (1) most experts make the predicted promise; (2) proper promises induce consumer-friendly behavior; and (3) higher interaction prices increase the commitment value of proper promises.

Suggested Citation

  • Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services: Theory and Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4827, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4827
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cary Deck & Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker, 2013. "An examination of the effect of messages on cooperation under double-blind and single-blind payoff procedures," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 597-607, December.
    2. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Shaping beliefs in experimental markets for expert services: Guilt aversion and the impact of promises and money-burning options," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 145-164.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    reciprocity; experts; promises; guilt; trust; credence goods;

    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
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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