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Private Ordering on the Internet: The eBay Community of Traders

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  • Baron, David P.

    (Stanford U)

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    Abstract

    eBay provides an online auction venue for remote and anonymous individuals to realize gains from trade. As a venue it never sees the items sold, verifies the item listings, handles settlements, or represents either the buyer or seller. Despite the associated incentive problems over five million auctions are active on an average day. Trading is based on trust among members of its community, and trust is supported by a multilateral reputation mechanism based on user feedback. eBay supplements the reputation mechanism with rules and policies that mitigate incentive problems and support trust among users and trust between users and the company. Reputations and the rules and policies provide a private ordering of eBay's Internet community. This paper examines that private ordering in the context of market strategy and in the shadow of the public order.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1709.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1709

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    1. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, 06.
    2. Rong-Ruey Duh & Shyam Sunder & Karim Jamal, 2002. "Control and Assurance in E-Commerce: Privacy, Integrity, and Security at eBay," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm316, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jan 2003.
    3. Greif, Avner, 1994. "On the Political Foundations of the Late Medieval Commercial Revolution: Genoa During the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 271-287, June.
    4. Banner, Stuart, 1998. "The Origin of the New York Stock Exchange, 1791-1860," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 113-40, January.
    5. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
    6. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2000. "Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1927, Econometric Society.
    7. Clay, Karen, 1997. "Trade without Law: Private-Order Institutions in Mexican California," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 202-31, April.
    8. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
    9. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
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