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Price Discontinuities in an online used Car Market

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  • Englmaier, Florian
  • Schmöller, Arno
  • Stowasser, Till

Abstract

We examine empirically whether individuals evaluating used cars efficiently aggregate all relevant information on its constituent characteristics. Based on detailed field data on more than 80,000 used car offers in a large online marketplace, we provide evidence for biased information processing. While the precise date of first registration, i.e., its "age", is publicly and prominently stated for each car, we identify an amplified value adjustment for otherwise identical cars at year-count changes. These discontinuities indicate that individuals over-react to the figure displayed in the latter, while underrating the finer information on a car's age as conveyed through the month of first registration. Moreover, we are able to replicate the findings from Lacetera et al (2009) and find discontinuous drops in prices at 10,000km odometer thresholds. While the latter finding, as suggested by Lacetera et al (2009), is consistent with a left-digit bias in the processing of numerical information, the first finding cannot be explained by this. Our findings underline that information-processing heuristics matter also in markets with large stakes and easily observed information --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79982.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79982

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Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-70, March.
  2. Young Han Lee & Ulrike Malmendier, 2007. "The Bidder's Curse," NBER Working Papers 13699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  4. Gregory Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Information, Adverse Selection and Online Disclosure: The Case of eBay Motors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1535-46, June.
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