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Charity as a Substitute for Reputation: Evidence from an Online Marketplace

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  • Daniel W. Elfenbein
  • Ray Fisman
  • Brian Mcmanus
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    Abstract

    Consumers respond positively to products tied to charity, particularly from sellers that are relatively new and hence have limited alternative means of assuring quality. We establish this result using data from a diverse group of eBay sellers who "experiment" with charity by varying the presence of a donation in a set of otherwise matched product listings. Most of charity's benefits accrue to sellers without extensive eBay histories. Consistent with charity serving as a quality signal, we find fewer customer complaints among charity-intensive sellers. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

    Volume (Year): 79 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 1441-1468

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:4:p:1441-1468

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    Cited by:
    1. Gerrit Frackenpohl & Gert Pönitzsch, 2013. "Bundling Public with Private Goods," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse05_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
    2. Ajay K. Agrawal & Christian Catalini & Avi Goldfarb, 2013. "Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding," NBER Working Papers 19133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget, 2013. "La responsabilité sociale et environnementale des entreprises : mirage ou virage ?," Working Papers hal-00830642, HAL.
    4. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2007. "Does Laboratory Trading Mirror Behavior in Real World Markets? Fair Bargaining and Competitive Bidding on EBay," Working Paper Series in Economics 36, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 24 Feb 2011.
    5. Pitschner, Stefan & Pitschner-Finn, Sebastian, 2014. "Non-profit differentials in crowd-based financing: Evidence from 50,000 campaigns," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 391-394.
    6. Bo Chen, 2013. "Assignment Games with Externalities And Matching-Based Competition," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse08_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
    7. Ing-Haw Cheng & Harrison Hong & Kelly Shue, 2013. "Do Managers Do Good with Other People's Money?," NBER Working Papers 19432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Daniel Elfenbein & Raymond Fisman & Brian McManus, 2014. "Market Structure, Reputation, and the Value of Quality Certification," NBER Working Papers 20074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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