June 2020

IZA DP No. 13344: Reveal It or Conceal It: On the Value of Second Opinions in a Low-Entry-Barriers Credence Goods Market

revised version published as 'On the value of second opinions: a credence goods field experiment' in: Economics Letters, 2021, 205, 109925

Credence goods markets with their asymmetric information between buyers and sellers are prone to large inefficiencies. In theory, poorly informed consumers can protect themselves from maltreatment through sellers by asking for second opinions from other sellers. Yet, empirical evidence whether this is a successful strategy is scarce. Here we present a natural field experiment in the market for computer repairs. We find that revealing a second opinion from another expert to the seller does neither increase the rate of successful repairs nor decrease the average repair price. We assess under which conditions gathering a second opinion can be valuable.