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Liability in Markets for Credence Goods

Author

Listed:
  • Chen, Yongmin
  • Li, Jianpei
  • Zhang, Jin

Abstract

We study the role of liability in disciplining an expert's behavior in a credence good market. The expert, who can provide two potential treatments for a consumer's problem, may misbehave in two ways: prescribing the "wrong" treatment given his private information, or failing to exert proper effort to diagnose the problem. We show that under a range of liability rules, the expert will choose the efficient treatment based on his information if the price margins for the two treatments are close enough. Moreover, a well-designed liability rule can motivate the expert to choose efficiently both the treatment and the diagnosis effort. This efficiency result continues to hold when the expert's diagnosis effort generates only a noisy signal about the nature of the consumer's problem, provided the signal is sufficiently informative.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Yongmin & Li, Jianpei & Zhang, Jin, 2017. "Liability in Markets for Credence Goods," MPRA Paper 80206, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:80206
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/80206/1/MPRA_paper_80206.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jennifer Arlen & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2005. "Torts, Expertise, and Authority: Liability of Physicians and Managed Care Organizations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 494-519, Autumn.
    2. Ting Liu, 2011. "Credence Goods Markets With Conscientious And Selfish Experts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(1), pages 227-244, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2003. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 417-437.
    5. Fong, Yuk-fai & Liu, Ting & Wright, Donald J., 2014. "On the role of verifiability and commitment in credence goods markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 118-129.
    6. Xinyu Hua, 2011. "Product Recall and Liability," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 113-136.
    7. Dulleck, Uwe & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2009. "Experts vs. discounters: Consumer free-riding and experts withholding advice in markets for credence goods," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 15-23, January.
    8. Donald J., Wright, 2011. "Medical malpractice and physician liability under a negligence rule," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 205-211, September.
    9. Kathryn E. Spier, 2011. "Product Safety, Buybacks, and the Post-Sale Duty to Warn," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 515-539.
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    11. Emons, Winand, 2001. "Credence goods monopolists," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 375-389, March.
    12. 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.
    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. Dulleck, Uwe & Wigger, Berthold U., 2015. "Politicians as experts, electoral control, and fiscal restraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 106-116.
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    1. repec:eee:ecolet:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:35-39 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credence goods; private information; diagnosis effort; undertreatment; overtreatment; liability;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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