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A Learning Theory of Referrals

  • Damien S Eldridge

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University)

Many service industries, including the medical and legal professions in some countries, display a gated structure. Rather than approaching a final producer directly, a consumer will first seek a referral from an intermediary. Such an industry structure might help to alleviate adverse selection problems between parties that interact infrequently. Intermediaries aggregate many short-run transactions between various consumers and a particular producer. As such, they might be able to learn a producers level of proficiency more rapidly than an individual consumer. However, the presence of a positive information externality means that too few consumers will seek a referral. As such, some form of regulation to encourage consumers to seek a referral might be warranted.

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File URL: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/130905/2007.06.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007.06.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, La Trobe University in its series Working Papers with number 2007.06 EDIRC Provider-Institution: RePEc:edi:smlatau.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ltr:wpaper:2007.06
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/economics

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  1. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopoly, Non-linear Pricing and Imperfect Information: The Insurance Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 407-30, October.
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  3. Fudenberg, D. & Levine, D.K. & Maskin, E., 1989. "The Folk Theorem With Inperfect Public Information," Working papers 523, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sobel, Joel., 1985. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Working Papers 565, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  6. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  7. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796, March.
  8. Riley, John G, 1979. "Informational Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 331-59, March.
  9. Riley, John G, 1985. "Competition with Hidden Knowledge," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 958-76, October.
  10. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  11. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  12. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  13. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
  14. Damien S Eldridge, 2007. "A Shirking Theory of Referrals," Working Papers 2007.05, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  15. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  16. Jeffrey C. Ely & Johannes Horner & Wojciech Olszewski, 2003. "Belief-free Equilibria in Repeated Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 666156000000000367, David K. Levine.
  17. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Trade and Insurance with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 235-47, April.
  18. Pauly, Mark V, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62, February.
  19. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
  20. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J. David, 2001. "An Introduction to the Economics of Information: Incentives and Contracts," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199243259, March.
  21. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
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  23. Damien S Eldridge, 2007. "A Learning Theory of Referrals," Working Papers 2007.06, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
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