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How much is a Dollar Worth? Tipping versus Equilibrium Coexistence on Competing Online Auction Sites

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  • Brown, Jennifer
  • Morgan, John

Abstract

The equilibrium model of Ellison, Fudenberg, and Möbius (2004) predicts that, if two competing auction sites are coexisting, then seller revenues and buyer-seller ratios on each site should be approximately equal. We examine these hypotheses using field experiments selling identical items on the eBay and Yahoo auction sites. We find evidence that is inconsistent with the equilibrium hypotheses, and suggest that the eBay-Yahoo market is in the process of tipping. Robust statistical tests indicate that revenues on eBay are consistently 20 to 70 percent higher than those on Yahoo. In addition, eBay auctions attract approximately two additional buyers per seller than equivalent Yahoo auctions. We also vary the Yahoo ending rule from a hard close to soft close but find no statistically or economically significant changes in revenue or numbers of bidders. Moreover, the magnitude of the revenue and buyer-seller ratio disparities remain inconsistent with the notion of equilibrium coexistence even after accounting for various differentiators between the sites.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series with number qt3c21w91h.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt3c21w91h

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Keywords: Tipping; equilibrium coexistence; field experiments; auctions;

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References

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  1. Katkar Rama & Reiley David H, 2007. "Public versus Secret Reserve Prices in eBay Auctions: Results from a Pokémon Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-25, January.
  2. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 987, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 2003. "Knife-Edge Or Plateau: When Do Market Models Tip?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1249-1278, November.
  5. Mark Mitchell & Todd Pulvino & Erik Stafford, 2002. "Limited Arbitrage in Equity Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 551-584, 04.
  6. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "Late and Multiple Bidding in Second Price Internet Auctions: Theory and Evidence Concerning Different Rules for Ending an Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 992, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Jesse A. Schwartz & Ricardo Ungo, 2003. "Merging Auction Houses," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0303, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  9. Tanjim Hossain & John Morgan, 2006. "...plus shipping and handling: Revenue (non) equivalence in field experiments on ebay," Natural Field Experiments 00270, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "Bidding Behavior and Decision Costs in Field Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 611-619, October.
  11. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "Demand reduction in a multi-unit auction: Evidence from a sportscard field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00180, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Gehrig, Thomas, 1998. "Competing markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 277-310, February.
  13. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
  14. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
  15. van Raalte, Chris & Webers, Harry, 1998. "Spatial competition with intermediated matching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 477-488, March.
  16. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-28, Summer.
  17. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  18. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564888 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Glover, Brent & Raviv, Yaron, 2012. "Revenue non-equivalence between auctions with soft and hard closing mechanisms: New evidence from Yahoo!," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 129-136.
  3. Alok Gupta & Stephen Parente & Pallab Sanyal, 2012. "Competitive bidding for health insurance contracts: lessons from the online HMO auctions," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 303-322, December.

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