American Economic Review: Vol. 95 No. 5 (December 2005)
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Services as Experience Goods: An Empirical Examination of Consumer Learning in Automobile Insurance
Israel, Mark. 2005. "Services as Experience Goods: An Empirical Examination of Consumer Learning in Automobile Insurance." American Economic Review, 95(5): 1444-1463.
Theoretical work on experience goods sets out three empirical questions. How accurate is information at initial purchase? How rapidly do consumers learn from product experiences? And how much impact does learning have on purchase decisions? I answer these questions for the case of automobile insurance, using a panel of 18,595 consumers from one firm. My principal findings are: patterns of consumer departures following claims point to learning; consumers enter the firm overly optimistic about its quality and are generally disappointed by experience; and the impact of learning is mitigated by the slow arrival of claims and the development of lock-in.
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