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Price competition and reputation in markets for experience goods: An experimental study

  • Huck, Steffen
  • Lünser, Gabriele K.
  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

We experimentally examine the effects of price competition in markets for experience goods where sellers can build up reputations for quality. We compare price competition to monopolistic markets and markets where prices are exogenously fixed (somewhere between the endogenous oligopoly and monopoly prices). While oligopolies benefit consumers regardless of whether prices are fixed or endogenously chosen, we find that price competition lowers efficiency as consumers pay too little attention to reputation for quality. This provides empirical support to recent models in behavioral IO that assume that consumers may with increasing complexity of the market place focus on selected dimensions of products (see, for example, Spiegler 2006).

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-312.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013312
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  1. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "How Effective are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 3, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  2. Spiegler, Ran, 2011. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195398717.
  3. Kirchsteiger, Georg & Niederle, Muriel & Potters, Jan, 2005. "Endogenizing market institutions: An experimental approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1827-1853, October.
  4. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2002. "Environmental Labeling and Incomplete Consumer Information in Laboratory Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 113-134, January.
  5. 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 526-55, April.
  6. Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1981. "On Nonbinding Price Controls in a Competitive Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 467-74, June.
  7. Ran Spiegler, 2005. "Competition over Agents with Boundedly Rational Expectations," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000535, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. KalaycI, Kenan & Potters, Jan, 2011. "Buyer confusion and market prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 14-22, January.
  9. Coursey, Don L & Smith, Vernon L, 1983. "Price Controls in a Posted Offer Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 218-21, March.
  10. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-171357 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Steffen Huck & Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Consumer Behavioural Biases in Competition: A Survey," Working Papers 11-16, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  12. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 362-366, May.
  13. Iris Bohnet & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Learning Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 322-329, 04/05.
  14. Holt, Charles A & Sherman, Roger, 1990. "Advertising and Product Quality in Posted-Offer Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 39-56, January.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Riedl, Arno & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2005. "Tax liability side equivalence in gift-exchange labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2369-2382, December.
  17. Seale, James L., Jr. & Regmi, Anita & Bernstein, Jason, 2003. "International Evidence On Food Consumption Patterns," Technical Bulletins 33580, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  18. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  19. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  20. Isaac, R Mark & Plott, Charles R, 1981. "Price Controls and the Behavior of Auction Markets: An Experimental Examination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 448-59, June.
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