We replicate the four main treatments in Angerer et al. (2022) with a neutral frame.
We employ a 2x2 factorial design to experimentally investigate the effect of a public rating system in two different expert markets: A market in which consumers can rely on their personal experience, and one in which they cannot. These two different market environments are implemented in the experiment as follows:
In the conditions without personal experience, in each period consumers choose one expert from a list of four without being able to identify them. All players are informed beforehand that consumers have no means of identifying experts from previous periods. Thus, although consumers observe their payoffs in each period and can partially infer expert behavior, they cannot attribute it to a particular expert and therefore cannot build up personal experience with a particular expert. In experimental conditions with personal experience, consumers can identify experts by a fixed ID and decide whether to interact with a particular identified expert. Over the 16 periods of play, they can thus learn from their personal experience (payoffs) with a particular identified expert.
In the conditions with the public rating system, consumers can choose to rate interactions with experts on a five-star rating scale after receiving their payoff in a given period. This rating is shown to the respective expert at the end of the period. Subsequently, ratings for each expert over all treated consumers are aggregated, averaged, and displayed to consumers. Consumers see these public ratings for all experts when they decide whether to interact and which expert to choose starting in period 5. In the condition without personal experience, as highlighted before, consumers cannot identify a particular expert and only see the public ratings. The public ratings of all experts are displayed to experts when they decide on the type of treatment and which price to charge in a given period.
In total, we run four experimental conditions: BASELINE (no experience, no rating), EXPERIENCE (experience, no rating), RATING (no experience, rating), EXP-RATING (experience, rating).
Angerer, S., Glätzle-Rützler, D., Mimra, W., Rittmannsberger, T., & Waibel, C. (2022). The value of rating systems in healthcare credence goods markets. Available at SSRN. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn. 3965318