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The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition

Author

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  • Uwe Dulleck

    () (QUT)

  • Rudolf Kerschbamer

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Matthias Sutter

    () (University of Innsbruck and University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

Credence goods markets are characterized by asymmetric information between sellers and consumers that may give rise to inefficiencies, such as under- and overtreatment or market break-down. We study in a large experiment with 936 participants the determinants for efficiency in credence goods markets. While theory predicts that either liability or verifiability yields efficiency, we find that liability has a crucial, but verifiability only a minor effect. Allowing sellers to build up reputation has little influence, as predicted. Seller competition drives down prices and yields maximal trade, but does not lead to higher efficiency as long as liability is violated.

Suggested Citation

  • Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition," NCER Working Paper Series 42, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:auncer:2009_55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2014. "Car mechanics in the lab––Investigating the behavior of real experts on experimental markets for credence goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 166-173.
    2. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The Economics of Credence Goods: An Experiment on the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 526-555, April.
    3. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2013. "What Drives Taxi Drivers? A Field Experiment on Fraud in a Market for Credence Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 876-891.
    4. Vincze, János, 2010. "Miért és mitől védjük a fogyasztókat?. Aszimmetrikus információ és/vagy korlátozott racionalitás
      [Asymmetric information and/or bounded rationality: why are consumers protected and from what?]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 725-752.
    5. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    6. 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).
    7. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter & Uwe Dulleck, 2009. "The Impact of Distributional Preferences on (Experimental) Markets for Expert Services," Working Papers 2009-28, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    8. Uwe Dulleck & Berthold U. Wigger, 2012. "Expert Politicians, Electoral Control, and Fiscal Restraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 3738, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Brosig, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 254, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Huck, Steffen & Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Consumer behavioural biases in competition: A survey," MPRA Paper 31794, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    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
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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