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An Empirical Study of Online Software Outsourcing: Signals under Different Contract Regimes

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    Abstract

    We study whether and how contractual arrangements (fixed price vs. time-and-materials contracts) change the effect of reputation, certification, and language characteristics on the chances of winning outsourcing contracts. Using a comprehensive dataset from an online outsourcing marketplace, we model how buyers choose among bidding vendors, and how the effects of these variables change under different contract forms. Our results show that online reputation is an important predictor of success only for fixed-price contracts, but not significant for times-and-materials contracts. In other words, contract forms can mitigate the typical Matthew Effect associated with online reputation systems. Contrary to popular belief, certifications do not increase the chances of winning regardless of the contract forms. Linguistic features of private communications from the vendor to the buyer also affect the chances of winning, and different dimensions have different effects when contract forms change. Our study is one of the first to study the interaction between contract formats and different signals that vendors can reveal to buyers in the competitive bidding process, and is also one of the first to investigate how texts of private communications affect buyers' contracting decisions.

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    File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Lin_Viswanathan_Agarwal_10-22.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 10-22.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1022

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    Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

    Related research

    Keywords: two-sided markets; asymmetric information; contract; outsourcing; offshoring; reputation; certification; text analysis.;

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    1. Sameer Hasija & Edieal J. Pinker & Robert A. Shumsky, 2008. "Call Center Outsourcing Contracts Under Information Asymmetry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(4), pages 793-807, April.
    2. Tykvova, Tereza, 2007. "Who chooses whom? Syndication, skills and reputation," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 5-28.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 1999. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," Working papers 99-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    5. David H. Autor, 2001. "Wiring the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 25-40, Winter.
    6. Anandasivam Gopal & Konduru Sivaramakrishnan & M. S. Krishnan & Tridas Mukhopadhyay, 2003. "Contracts in Offshore Software Development: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(12), pages 1671-1683, December.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tracy R. Lewis, 1986. "Reputation and Contractual Performance in Long-Term Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 141-157, Summer.
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