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Money Talks? An Experimental Study of Rebate in Reputation System Design

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  • Li, Lingfang (Ivy)
  • Xiao, Erte

Abstract

Reputation systems that rely on feedback from traders are important institutions for helping sustain trust in markets, while feedback information is usually considered a public good. We apply both theoretical models and experiments to study how raters' feedback behavior responds to different reporting costs and how to improve market efficiency by introducing a pre-commitment device for sellers in reputation systems. In particular, the pre-commitment device we study here allows sellers to provide rebates to cover buyers' reporting costs before buyers make purchasing decisions. Using a buyer-seller trust game with a unilateral feedback scheme, we find that a buyer’s propensity to leave feedback is more sensitive to reporting costs when the seller cooperates than when the seller defects. The seller’s decision on whether to provide a rebate significantly affects the buyer’s decision to leave feedback by compensating for the feedback costs. More importantly, the rebate decision has a significant impact on the buyer's purchasing decision via signaling the seller's cooperative type. The experimental results show that the rebate mechanism improves the market efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22401.

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Date of creation: 29 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22401

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Keywords: reputation; trust; feedback mechanism; asymmetric information; public goods; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Klein, Tobias & Lambertz, Christian & Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Stahl, Konrad O., 2006. "Last Minute Feedback," CEPR Discussion Papers 5693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  18. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  19. 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.
  20. Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, 2003. "The Digitization of Word-of-mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Working papers 4296-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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Cited by:
  1. Marianne Lumeau & David Masclet & Thierry Pénard, 2013. "Reputation and Social (Dis)approval in Feedback Mechanisms: An Experimental study," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201343, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  2. Robert S. Gazzale & Tapan Khopkar, 2008. "Remain Silent and Ye Shall Suffer: Seller Exploitation of Reticent Buyers in an Experimental Reputation System," Department of Economics Working Papers 2008-22, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. José Canals-Cerdá, 2012. "The value of a good reputation online: an application to art auctions," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 67-85, February.
  4. Luis Cabral & Lingfang (Ivy) Li, 2012. "A Dollar for Your Thoughts: Feedback-Conditional Rebates on eBay," Working Papers 12-13, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. Li, Lingfang (Ivy), 2010. "What is the cost of venting? Evidence from eBay," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 215-218, August.

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