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Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto-Repair Price Quotes

  • Meghan R. Busse
  • Ayelet Israeli
  • Florian Zettelmeyer
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    In this paper we investigate whether sellers treat consumers differently on the basis of how well-informed consumers appear to be. We implement a large-scale field experiment in which callers request price quotes from automotive repair shops. We show that sellers alter their initial price quotes depending on whether consumers appear to be well-informed, uninformed, or poorly informed about market prices. We find that repair shops quote higher prices to callers who cite a higher expected price. We find that women are quoted higher prices than men when callers signal that they are uninformed about market prices. However, gender differences disappear when callers mention an expected price for the repair. Finally, we find that repair shops are more likely to offer a price concession if asked to do so by a woman than a man.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19154.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19154
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    1. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Torero, Maximo & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "Gender differences in bargaining outcomes: A field experiment on discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 35-48.
    2. Anderson, Simon P & de Palma, André, 2004. "Price Dispersion and Consumer Reservation Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 4618, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & Russell S. Winer, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations from Reference Price Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages G161-G169.
    4. Henry S. Schneider, 2012. "Agency Problems and Reputation in Expert Services: Evidence from Auto Repair," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 406-433, 09.
    5. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
    6. Valley, Kathleen L. & White, Sally Blount & Neale, Margaret A. & Bazerman, Max H., 1992. "Agents as information brokers: The effects of information disclosure on negotiated outcomes," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 220-236, March.
    7. Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2012. "Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
    9. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
    10. Uri Gneezy & John List & Michael K. Price, 2012. "Toward an Understanding of Why People Discriminate: Evidence from a Series of Natural Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 17855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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