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The Effect of Reputation on Selling Prices in Auctions

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  • Christian Grund

    ()
    (Universitaet Wuerzburg)

  • Oliver Guertler

    ()
    (Universitaet Bonn)

Abstract

It is often argued in economics that building a reputation for trustworthiness could help individuals or firms to mitigate or even overcome problems of contractual incompleteness. In this paper, we use data from the German eBay website to test whether a seller's bad reputation has an effect on selling prices. For auctions of popular DVDs at eBay we do indeed find evidence for this hypothesis. We show that an increase in the share of negative ratings of one percentage point decreases the selling price by about 4 per cent. The number of negative ratings, in contrast, does not affect the selling price significantly. Hence, bidders on the eBay marketplace seem to concentrate on relative rather than on absolute measures of reputation. Further, we challenge the recommendation that it is profitable for eBay sellers to let their auction end in the evening, when many potential buyers are supposed to be online. We find that prices are relatively lower in the evening. This may be due to a much higher supply of DVDs in the evening.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 228 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 345-356

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Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:228:y:2008:i:4:p:345-356

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Keywords: Auction; eBay feedback system; reputation; trustworthiness;

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References

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  1. Resnick, Paul & Zeckhauser, Richard & Swanson, John & Lockwood, Kate, 2003. "The Value of Reputation on eBay: A Controlled Experiment," Working Paper Series rwp03-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
  3. Jeffrey A. Livingston, 2005. "How Valuable Is a Good Reputation? A Sample Selection Model of Internet Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 453-465, August.
  4. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  5. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  6. Garvey, Gerald T., 1995. "Why reputation favors joint ventures over vertical and horizontal integration A simple model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 387-397, December.
  7. Chemmanur, Thomas J & Fulghieri, Paolo, 1994. " Investment Bank Reputation, Information Production, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 57-79, March.
  8. Cynthia G. McDonald & V. Carlos Slawson, 2002. "Reputation in An Internet Auction Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 633-650, October.
  9. Dye, Ronald A, 1984. "The Trouble with Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 147-49, January.
  10. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-62, August.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  12. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  13. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
  14. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1989. "Collusion among asymmetric firms: The case of different discount factors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 289-307, June.
  15. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts And The Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84, February.
  16. Steven A. Matthews, 1995. "A Technical Primer on Auction Theory I: Independent Private Values," Discussion Papers 1096, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Patrick Bajari & Ali Horta�su, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
  18. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
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Cited by:
  1. Christopher Schlägel & Birgitta Wolff, 2007. "Country-Specific Effects of Reputation and Information: A Comparison of Online Auctions in Germany, the UK, and the US," FEMM Working Papers 07027, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.

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