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Agency Problems and Reputation in Expert Services: Evidence from Auto Repair

Henry S. Schneider, Cornell University

Abstract

Using a field experiment involving undercover visits to auto repair garages with a test vehicle, I first examine how asymmetric information between mechanics and motorists over auto repair service quality affects outcomes. I then examine whether reputation mitigates these problems via a matched-pair treatment in which undercover researchers appeared as either one-time or repeat-business customers. The results indicate that under and overtreatment are widespread, and that reputation via a repeat business mechanism does not improve outcomes significantly.

Suggested Citation

Henry S. Schneider. "Agency Problems and Reputation in Expert Services: Evidence from Auto Repair" Journal of Industrial Economics (2012).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/henry_schneider/3