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How much is a Dollar Worth? Tipping versus Equilibrium Coexistence on Competing Online Auction Sites

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  • Brown, Jennifer
  • Morgan, John

Abstract

The equilibrium model of Ellison, Fudenberg, and Möbius (2004) predicts that, if two competing auction sites are coexisting, then seller revenues and buyer-seller ratios on each site should be approximately equal. We examine these hypotheses using field experiments selling identical items on the eBay and Yahoo auction sites. We find evidence that is inconsistent with the equilibrium hypotheses, and suggest that the eBay-Yahoo market is in the process of tipping. Robust statistical tests indicate that revenues on eBay are consistently 20 to 70 percent higher than those on Yahoo. In addition, eBay auctions attract approximately two additional buyers per seller than equivalent Yahoo auctions. We also vary the Yahoo ending rule from a hard close to soft close but find no statistically or economically significant changes in revenue or numbers of bidders. Moreover, the magnitude of the revenue and buyer-seller ratio disparities remain inconsistent with the notion of equilibrium coexistence even after accounting for various differentiators between the sites.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Jennifer & Morgan, John, 2006. "How much is a Dollar Worth? Tipping versus Equilibrium Coexistence on Competing Online Auction Sites," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt3c21w91h, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt3c21w91h
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2016. "Field Experiments in Markets," NBER Working Papers 22113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Liran Einav & Chiara Farronato & Jonathan Levin, 2015. "Peer-to-Peer Markets," NBER Working Papers 21496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Tanjim Hossain & Dylan Minor & John Morgan, 2011. "Competing Matchmakers: An Experimental Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(11), pages 1913-1925, November.
    7. 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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