Search and competition in expert markets

Yiran CAO, Yongmin CHEN, Yucheng DING, Tianle ZHANG

Research output: Working paperWorking paper series


We develop a model in which consumers sequentially search experts for recommendations and prices to treat a problem, and experts simultaneously compete in these two dimensions. Consumers have either zero or a positive search cost. In equilibrium, experts may "cheat" by recommending an unnecessary treatment with positive probabilities, prices follow distributions that depend on a consumer's problem type and the treatment, and consumers search with Bayesian belief updating about their problem types. Remarkably, as search cost decreases, both expert cheating and prices can increase stochastically. However, if search cost is sufficiently small, competition forces all experts to behave honestly.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameMunich Personal RePEc Archive (MRPA) Paper

Bibliographical note

We thank various seminar and conference participants for helpful comments and suggestions.

Tianle Zhang gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project code: LU13500619).


  • search
  • experts
  • competition
  • credence good

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