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Mechanism choice and the buy-it-now auction: A structural model of competing buyers and sellers

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  • Bauner, Christoph

Abstract

A striking feature of many online sales platforms is the coexistence of multiple sales mechanisms. Items on eBay, for instance, are frequently offered through auctions, posted prices, and buy-it-now auctions. In this article, I study how this mechanism multiplicity influences the welfare of buyers and sellers. I specify and estimate a structural model of mechanism choice in online markets, in which I consider both sides of the market: On the demand side, buyers' choices among available listings are equilibrium outcomes of an entry game. On the supply side, sellers make equilibrium decisions when choosing sales mechanisms and prices. I estimate this model using data from sales of baseball tickets on eBay and calculate consumer and seller rents in three markets: the actual market with all three sales mechanisms and two counterfactual markets with auctions and fixed prices or only fixed-price listings, respectively. I find that the addition of auctions to fixed-price markets hurts sellers and risk-averse buyers but benefits risk-neutral buyers. Additionally, the consumer surplus increases when buy-it-now auctions are offered but the seller surplus is reduced further. I discuss the intuition for the cause of this result.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauner, Christoph, 2015. "Mechanism choice and the buy-it-now auction: A structural model of competing buyers and sellers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 19-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:38:y:2015:i:c:p:19-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2014.12.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anwar, Sajid & Zheng, Mingli, 2015. "Posted price selling and online auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 81-92.
    2. repec:gam:jgames:v:7:y:2016:i:1:p:8:d:64825 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Chen, Kong-Pin & Lai, Hung-pin & Yu, Ya-Ting, 2018. "The seller's listing strategy in online auctions: Evidence from eBay," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 107-144.
    4. Jean-Pierre Dubé & Sanjog Misra, 2017. "Scalable Price Targeting," NBER Working Papers 23775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Matthew Backus & Thomas Blake & Dimitriy V. Masterov & Steven Tadelis, 2017. "Expectation, Disappointment, and Exit: Reference Point Formation in a Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 23022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:indorg:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:65-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sandro Shelegia & Joshua Sherman, 2018. "Bargaining at Retail Stores: Evidence from Vienna," Working Papers 1032, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. Sandro Shelegia & Joshua Sherman, 2018. "Bargaining at Retail Stores: Evidence from Vienna," Economics Working Papers 1606, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. Ronald Peeters & Martin Strobel & Dries Vermeulen & Markus Walzl, 2016. "The Impact of the Irrelevant: Temporary Buy-Options and Bidding Behavior in Auctions," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online markets; Buy-it-now; Mechanism choice; eBay; Auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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