IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v97y2014icp143-154.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does laboratory trading mirror behavior in real world markets? Fair bargaining and competitive bidding on eBay

Author

Listed:
  • Bolton, Gary E.
  • Ockenfels, Axel

Abstract

Laboratory market experiments observe a sharp dichotomy between (selfish) competitive behavior and fair-minded social behavior depending on competitive conditions. While the dichotomy is consistent with social preference theory, the often advanced hypothesis that social behavior is an artifact of laboratory conditions has not heretofore been ruled out. We tested these competing hypotheses in a field experiment on eBay conducted with experienced traders. The buyer behavior we observe strongly confirms the social preference hypothesis. Also, the behavioral patterns in the field experiment mirror fully naturally occurring trading patterns in the market. For instance, some sellers do not use their commitment power as predicted by theories of both selfish and social behavior, with the pattern of deviation reflecting traders’ market experience outside the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel, 2014. "Does laboratory trading mirror behavior in real world markets? Fair bargaining and competitive bidding on eBay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 143-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:97:y:2014:i:c:p:143-154
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.11.003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268113002977
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2013.11.003?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Dyer, Douglas & Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1989. "A Comparison of Naive and Experienced Bidders in Common Value Offer Auctions: A Laboratory Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 108-115, March.
    3. Ginger Jin & Andrew Kato, 2004. "Consumer frauds and the uninformed: Evidence from an online field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00275, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. Axel Ockenfels & Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2015. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1496-1513, July.
    5. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato & John A. List, 2010. "That’S News To Me! Information Revelation In Professional Certification Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 104-122, January.
    6. Andreoni, James A & Miller, John H, 1993. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 570-585, May.
    7. Nicholas Bardsley & Robin Cubitt & Graham Loomes & Peter Moffatt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9074, April.
    8. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    9. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    10. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortaçsu, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
    11. Stanley Reynolds & John Wooders, 2009. "Auctions with a buy price," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 38(1), pages 9-39, January.
    12. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
    13. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    14. David H. Reiley, 2006. "Field experiments on the effects of reserve prices in auctions: more Magic on the Internet," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 195-211, March.
    15. Brandts, Jordi & Figueras, Neus, 2003. "An exploration of reputation formation in experimental games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 89-115, January.
    16. Ulrike Malmendier & Young Han Lee, 2011. "The Bidder's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 749-787, April.
    17. Yan Chen & F. Maxwell Harper & Joseph Konstan & Sherry Xin Li, 2010. "Social Comparisons and Contributions to Online Communities: A Field Experiment on MovieLens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1358-1398, September.
    18. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 322-322.
    19. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Bargaining outside the lab - a newspaper experiment of a three-person ultimatum game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 449-469, March.
    20. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
    21. Bolton, Gary E, 1991. "A Comparative Model of Bargaining: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1096-1136, December.
    22. Paul Resnick & Richard Zeckhauser & John Swanson & Kate Lockwood, 2006. "The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 79-101, June.
    23. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels & Ulrich W. Thonemann, 2012. "Managers and Students as Newsvendors," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(12), pages 2225-2233, December.
    24. McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1992. "An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 803-836, July.
    25. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    26. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. "The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
    27. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    28. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
    29. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    30. Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "Late and Multiple Bidding in Second Price Internet Auctions: Theory and Evidence Concerning Different Rules for Ending an Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 992, CESifo.
    31. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    32. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
    33. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, March.
    34. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
    35. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
    36. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
    37. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, January.
    38. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo.
    39. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
    40. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 890-907, Winter.
    41. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    42. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
    43. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans, 1987. "On Optimal Reservation Prices in Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(6), pages 763-770, June.
    44. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    45. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith & Schoumaker, Francoise, 1988. "The Deadline Effect in Bargaining: Some Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 806-823, September.
    46. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    47. repec:feb:framed:0076 is not listed on IDEAS
    48. Ma, Ching-To Albert & Manove, Michael, 1993. "Bargaining with Deadlines and Imperfect Player Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1313-1339, November.
    49. David Card & Alex Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Working Papers 1269, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    50. Bolton Gary E. & Zwick Rami, 1995. "Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-121, July.
    51. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    52. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Axel Ockenfels, 2009. "Marktdesign und Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(s1), pages 31-53, May.
    2. Jonas Schmidt & Tammo H. A. Bijmolt, 2020. "Accurately measuring willingness to pay for consumer goods: a meta-analysis of the hypothetical bias," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 499-518, May.
    3. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    4. Shchetinin, Oleg, 2009. "Contracting Under Reciprocal Altruism," MPRA Paper 13457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Haghani, Milad & Sarvi, Majid, 2018. "Hypothetical bias and decision-rule effect in modelling discrete directional choices," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 361-388.
    6. Gizatulina, Alia & Gorelkina, Olga, 2021. "Selling “Money” on eBay: A field study of surplus division," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 19-38.
    7. Jannett Highfill & Kevin M. O’Brien, 2018. "eBay Memorabilia Auctions vis-à -vis Predictions for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 63(1), pages 71-78, March.
    8. Grebe, Tim & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Kröger, Sabine, 2021. "How do sellers benefit from Buy-It-Now prices in eBay auctions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 189-205.
    9. van Damme, Eric & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Roth, Alvin E. & Samuelson, Larry & Winter, Eyal & Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel & Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Gneezy, Uri & Kocher, Martin G, 2014. "How Werner Güth's ultimatum game shaped our understanding of social behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 292-318.
    10. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Grebe, Tim & Kröger, Sabine, 2019. "How do sellers benefit from Buy-It-Now prices in eBay auctions?," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203606, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel, 2012. "Behavioral economic engineering," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 665-676.
    2. Yan Chen & Peter Cramton & John A. List & Axel Ockenfels, 2020. "Market Design, Human Behavior, and Management," NBER Working Papers 26873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 122-131, January.
    4. Axel Ockenfels, 2009. "Marktdesign und Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(s1), pages 31-53, May.
    5. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    6. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism – Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 66, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    7. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    8. Murnighan, J. Keith & Wang, Long, 2016. "The social world as an experimental game," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 80-94.
    9. Barmettler, Franziska & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2012. "Big experimenter is watching you! Anonymity and prosocial behavior in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 17-34.
    10. van Damme, Eric & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Roth, Alvin E. & Samuelson, Larry & Winter, Eyal & Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel & Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Gneezy, Uri & Kocher, Martin G, 2014. "How Werner Güth's ultimatum game shaped our understanding of social behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 292-318.
    11. Klaus M. Schmidt, 2011. "Social Preferences and Competition," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 207-231, August.
    12. Gagen, Michael, 2013. "Isomorphic Strategy Spaces in Game Theory," MPRA Paper 46176, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. James Andreoni & William Harbaugh & Lise Vesterlund, 2003. "The Carrot or the Stick: Rewards, Punishments, and Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 893-902, June.
    14. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    15. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John List, 2016. "Field Experiments in Markets," Artefactual Field Experiments j0002, The Field Experiments Website.
    16. Ernst Fehr & Klaus Schmidt, 2000. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity – Evidence and Economic Applications," CESifo Working Paper Series 403, CESifo.
    17. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    18. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2014. "More than thirty years of ultimatum bargaining experiments: Motives, variations, and a survey of the recent literature," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 396-409.
    19. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    20. Axel Ockenfels & Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2015. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1496-1513, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competitive pricing; Fairness; eBay; Bargaining; Auction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:97:y:2014:i:c:p:143-154. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Nithya Sathishkumar (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.