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The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment

Listed author(s):
  • Paul Resnick
  • Richard Zeckhauser
  • John Swanson
  • Kate Lockwood

We conducted the first randomized controlled field experiment of an Internet reputation mechanism. A high-reputation, established eBay dealer sold matched pairs of lots—batches of vintage postcards—under his regular identity and under new seller identities (also operated by him). As predicted, the established identity fared better. The difference in buyers’ willingness-to-pay was 8.1% of the selling price. A subsidiary experiment followed the same format, but compared sales by relatively new sellers with and without negative feedback. Surprisingly, one or two negative feedbacks for our new sellers did not affect buyers’ willingness-to-pay. Copyright Economic Science Association 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-006-4309-2
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Article provided by Springer & Economic Science Association in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 79-101

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:9:y:2006:i:2:p:79-101
DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-4309-2
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Web page: https://www.economicscience.org/index.html;jsessionid=3F1701A870A8B0D3BDB91479792ADFA5
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  1. Luís Cabral & Ali Hortacsu, 2004. "The Dynamics of Seller Reputation: Theory and Evidence from eBay," Working Papers 04-05, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  3. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
  4. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, 06.
  5. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2000. "Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1927, Econometric Society.
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  7. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortaçsu, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
  8. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00520, The Field Experiments Website.
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  11. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004. "How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
  12. Tanjim Hossain & John Morgan, 2006. "...plus shipping and handling: Revenue (non) equivalence in field experiments on ebay," Natural Field Experiments 00270, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Sanjeev Dewan & Vernon Hsu, 2004. "Adverse Selection In Electronic Markets: Evidence From Online Stamp Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 497-516, December.
  14. Doug Bryan & David Lucking-Reiley & Naghi Prasad & Daniel Reeves, 2000. "Pennies from eBay: the Determinants of Price in Online Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1736, Econometric Society.
  15. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  16. Douglas W. Diamond, 1998. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 602, David K. Levine.
  17. Mitchel Y. Abolafia (ed.), 2005. "Markets," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2788.
  18. 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.
  19. Cynthia G. McDonald & V. Carlos Slawson, 2002. "Reputation in An Internet Auction Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 633-650, October.
  20. Camerer, Colin, 1996. "Can Asset Markets be Manipulated? A Field Experiment with Racetrack Betting," Working Papers 983, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  21. Miller, Nolan & Resnick, Paul & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2002. "Eliciting Honest Feedback in Electronic Markets," Working Paper Series rwp02-039, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  22. Paul Resnick & Christopher Avery & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Market for Evaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 564-584, June.
  23. Gary Bolton & Duncan Fong & Paul Mosquin, 2003. "Bayes Factors with an Application to Experimental Economics," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 311-325, November.
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