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How Much Is a Dollar Worth? Tipping versus Equilibrium Coexistence on Competing Online Auction Sites

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  • Jennifer Brown
  • John Morgan

Abstract

Theory models of platform competition predict that prices and buyer-seller ratios should be approximately equal on coexisting auction sites. Using field experiments on eBay and Yahoo Auctions, we find evidence that is inconsistent with equilibrium hypotheses and suggest that the market is tipping. Prices on eBay are consistently 20-70 percent higher than those on Yahoo, and eBay attracts two additional buyers per seller. On Yahoo, prices and bidders counts are unaffected by the auction ending rule. Various differences between the sites cannot account for the magnitude of these disparities. However, a model of imitation dynamics can rationalize our findings. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Jennifer Brown & John Morgan, 2009. "How Much Is a Dollar Worth? Tipping versus Equilibrium Coexistence on Competing Online Auction Sites," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 668-700, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:117:y:2009:i:4:p:668-700
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    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2016. "Field Experiments in Markets," NBER Working Papers 22113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laurent Lamy, 2010. ""Upping the ante": How to design efficient auctions with entry?," Working Papers halshs-00564888, HAL.
    3. Glover, Brent & Raviv, Yaron, 2012. "Revenue non-equivalence between auctions with soft and hard closing mechanisms: New evidence from Yahoo!," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 129-136.
    4. Ian Ayres & Mahzarin Banaji & Christine Jolls, 2015. "Race effects on eBay," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 891-917, October.
    5. Alok Gupta & Stephen Parente & Pallab Sanyal, 2012. "Competitive bidding for health insurance contracts: lessons from the online HMO auctions," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 303-322, December.
    6. Shiu, Ji-Liang & Sun, Chia-Hung D., 2014. "Modeling and estimating returns to seller reputation with unobserved heterogeneity in online auctions," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 59-67.
    7. Liran Einav & Chiara Farronato & Jonathan Levin, 2015. "Peer-to-Peer Markets," NBER Working Papers 21496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:bla:jindec:v:65:y:2017:i:3:p:597-622 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Tanjim Hossain & Dylan Minor & John Morgan, 2011. "Competing Matchmakers: An Experimental Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(11), pages 1913-1925, November.
    10. Syngjoo Choi & Lars Nesheim & Imran Rasul, 2016. "Reserve Price Effects In Auctions: Estimates From Multiple Regression-Discontinuity Designs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 294-314, January.

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