Expert-mediated search

Meenal Chhabra, Sanmay Das, David Same

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Increasingly in both traditional, and especially Internet-based marketplaces, knowledge is becoming a traded commodity. This paper considers the impact of the presence of knowledge- brokers, or experts, on search-based markets with noisy signals. For example, consider a consumer looking for a used car on a large Internet marketplace. She sees noisy signals of the true value of any car she looks at the advertisement for, and can disambiguate this signal by paying for the ser-vices of an expert (for example, getting a Carfax report, or taking the car to a mechanic for an inspection). Both the consumer and the expert are rational, self-interested agents. We present a model for such search environments, and analyze several aspects of the model, making three main contributions: (1) We derive the consumer's optimal search strategy in environments with noisy signals, with and without the option of consulting an expert; (2) We find the optimal strategy for maximizing the expert's profit; (3) We study the option of market designers to subsidize search in a way that improves overall social welfare. We illustrate our results in the context of a plausible distribution of signals and values. Categories and Subject Descriptors J.4 [Social and Behavioral Sciences]: Economics General Terms Algorithms, Economics.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2011
Event10th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2011, AAMAS 2011 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 2 May 20116 May 2011


Conference10th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2011, AAMAS 2011
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


  • Economically-motived agents
  • Modeling the dynamics of MAS


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